With the attention that celebrities attract, they are often drawn to having facelifts or other forms of anti-ageing treatment. Most people don’t have either the kind of money required for these cosmetic procedures or the desire to go under the knife, but did you know that your dentist may be able to help you achieve a more youthful appearance?
What makes us appear older?
As we age, our skin becomes drier, less elastic and less able to tolerate the abuse it often gets in our environment, particularly in places like central London where the air is not always as clean as we might like.
This drying and loss of elasticity coupled with the years of environmental factors as we get older means the skin appears more wrinkled.
For most people more wrinkles equals more age.
Where did these wrinkles occur?
One of the common areas for these ageing wrinkles to occur is around the mouth. One of the problems of wrinkles around the mouth is that the natural ageing process of the skin is compounded by the ageing process of your jaw.
As we age, the bone in our jaw tends to recede. As this bone recedes or shrinks it pulls away from the teeth making the teeth look longer, hence the expression ‘longer in the tooth’. As this bone shrinks, it takes the gum (which is attached to the bone) with it. This loss of structure and shrinking of the gums is reflected in a collapsing of the lips and cheeks around the mouth.
This collapsing of the support structures in the mouth means the excess skin has a tendency to wrinkle even more. Think of the classic look of a person with no teeth at all, they will almost always have wrinkles around their mouth no matter how old they are; this is not due to age per se, it is down to a loss of support for the lips and cheek.
Another factor is the loss of vertical dimension. As we get older, our teeth wear down. This wearing down closes the distance between the tip of your chin and the tip of your nose and as this distance reduces, the skin has a tendency to wrinkle around the mouth.
Coupled with the loss of structural support on the inside of your cheek and lips, and a loss of vertical dimension, these two factors result in the aged wrinkled look.
Anti-ageing treatments for the cheeks, lips and mouth
One of the best anti-ageing treatments is to rebuild this loss of support for the mouth. This can have a dramatic effect and is often called a non-surgical dental facelift.
Dental facelifts of this nature involve a variety of treatments depending on your clinical situation.
Dental facelifts for people with all/some of their teeth.
If you have all of your teeth then restorative treatments such as dental veneers or dental crowns can bulk out the outer surface of your teeth to provide your lips and cheek with more support.
Dental crowns can also be used to build up your bite, this is called increasing the vertical dimension.
If your teeth are generally healthy then dental crowns may be rather destructive and in this instance dental overlays can be made. These literally lay over the biting surfaces of your back teeth and raise the vertical dimension.
Dental facelifts for people with no teeth
If all of your teeth are missing, then a new cosmetic denture can be made. Dentures have the advantage that they rebuild the amount of lost bone support for your mouth and cheeks; plumping out your lips and cheeks again can dramatically help to reduce the prevalence of facial lines and wrinkles.
Because dentures rebuild the soft tissue and gum work that would normally be round your teeth, these can have a dramatic effect on a youthful appearance and have a real anti-ageing effect.
Whilst many people may look to anti-ageing creams and more invasive skin care treatments to appear younger, looking deeper into the underlying cause of the wrinkles can often have a more dramatic and permanent effect. If facial lines and wrinkles are caused by tooth wear or tooth loss then a dental facelift may be your perfect solution.
Image courtesy of Taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net