Do you want to look younger? The more birthdays you celebrate, the more of a disconnect you may notice between the person you see in the mirror, and how you still see yourself. There are many well-promoted ways to turn back the clock — including cosmetic surgery, injectable dermal fillers, Botox®, skincare serums, hair coloring and even hair transplants — yet there’s one typically overlooked area that makes a significant impact on your perceived age: your smile!
While it’s a popular notion that the act of smiling itself makes you look younger, teeth change in appearance over the years — while missing teeth that haven’t been replaced create structural changes in the face that cause or worsen lines, drooping skin and thin lips. The following are common characteristics of an “old” smile:
- Yellowish or dull-colored teeth.
- Short, flat teeth.
- Gaps or spaces between teeth.
- Missing teeth.
Although you may not have thought about your dentist’s office as the location of the Fountain of Youth, your dentist can perform a number of procedures designed to give you a dazzling age-defying smile!
Whiten Teeth for an Instant Youthful Boost
Professional teeth whitening by your dentist can provide an impressive immediate result, but it’s important to consult with your dentist to determine if you’re an appropriate candidate. Depending upon the condition of your teeth, an in-office whitening procedure can help if the cause of your discoloration is staining due to the food and beverages (such as red wine) you typically consume, or tobacco use. We don’t intend to preach, but if you smoke, please read our blog post — “How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health” — then seriously consider taking steps to quit.
Otherwise, dull tooth color may be caused by more than what goes into your mouth. According to Dr. Ryan Reeves of Beyond Exceptional Dentistry, the gradual wearing away of enamel is the primary culprit of yellowish teeth in people who are middle-age-plus.
“The enamel is worn away by eating, acid from bacteria, and even by brushing. This thinner enamel is not only less white — it shows more of the yellowy dentin beneath — it’s less smooth, so it doesn’t have the same luster that a more youthful smile does.”
Should this be the case, tooth whitening is typically not recommended. Again, this is why it’s imperative to consult with your dentist about the cause of your tooth discoloration and not take it upon yourself to buy an over-the-counter whitening product. You could do far more harm by damaging your remaining enamel! Your dentist will offer options that provide the desired aesthetic effect — such as composite bonding, veneers or crowns — which will give you the white, bright smile you want while also protecting your teeth.
If whitening is appropriate for you, NK Family Dental is proud to offer Zoom and Opalescence teeth whitening treatments. Each of these excellent, proven treatments is administered by different means. We will recommend the treatment best suited to your situation and aesthetic goals based upon your consultation.
Lengthen and Reshape Teeth Through Cosmetic Dentistry
Did you know that the length and shape of your teeth tell on your age? As Dr. Reeves observes, “Youthful smiles tend to have a very marked difference in the size and shape of the central incisors when compared to the other teeth. Not only are these teeth wider than the other teeth, but they also tend to be taller. As we age, our central incisors tend to wear down to become the same height as our other teeth.”
In addition, he says, “Another characteristic of the youthful smile is that it shows off a lot of teeth. When we are 25, we show, on average, about an inch and a half of tooth and gums. By age 45, that has disappeared, and people tend not to show any tooth when they smile.”
Not only do shortened teeth detract from your smile, they actually lead to significant aging of the face itself. Premier Dental of Ohio provides the following explanation:
“Many people who suffer from aging teeth have a collapsed bite. This means that the teeth shorten over time from frictional damage, and as the teeth get shorter, the upper and lower jaws come closer together. This shortening of the bite leads to more wrinkles and lines in the face.”
Cosmetic dentistry can restore teeth to their youthful proportions. Depending upon your situation, your dentist may recommend the afore-mentioned composite bonding, veneers or crowns as a solution. Building up your teeth and your bite can also prevent some instances of facial aging, as it better separates the upper and lower jaws, thus smoothing out wrinkles. According to Dr. Jeffrey Gross of The Healthy Smile Dental Center, “When the teeth are in the correct position, it fills out the facial volume allowing you to see more teeth, creating a more youthful appearance.”
Remaking a smile is popularly referred to as a “smile makeover,” and isn’t limited to mature adults. Our blog post — “What is a Smile Makeover and is it Right for You?” — covers the many reasons people seek this type of procedure. It is now in high demand by adults of all ages who want the boost in self-confidence that a perfect smile can achieve.
Replace Missing Teeth with Bridges, Implants or Dentures
Missing teeth quickly age the face. As Premier Dental of Ohio explains, “They do this in a couple different ways. First, missing a tooth in a visible area makes you look older. Losing teeth also allow the bite to collapse. This leads to an older appearance of the face, even when the lips are closed together. When multiple back teeth are missing, the cheeks become sunken in. Missing front teeth allow the lips to collapse inward. All of this leads to more visible lines and wrinkles in the face.
“When you replace missing teeth, you can provide the support for facial structures that improves the appearance of those lines and wrinkles. You can also open the bite and prevent further collapsing.”
Your dentist will help you determine which type of restoration for missing teeth is best for your situation. Our blog post — “Implants or Dentures? Which is Right for You?” — covers the advantages and limitations of each in detail. If you have only one missing tooth, a dental bridge may be the recommended option.
Should dentures be recommended, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Budget dentures tend to cause the most problems with fit and function, and don’t look as natural as their high-end counterparts. A well-designed, custom set of dentures can restore your face to its proper proportions — as well as provide the ability for you to chew and speak properly.
The Take-Home Message
As we are all adults here, we need to admit that appearances count! A youthful look signals health, vitality and viability, which is important for those who want to stay competitive in the job market, dating scene or society in general. A young smile goes a long way in establishing the impression you want to create. Choosing a dentist with the skill, experience, and artistic eye to create the perfect smile just for you is essential to achieving the best result.
At NK Family Dental, it is our mission to provide the highest quality and most compassionate oral care to our Chicago patients, including both dental and periodontal services. Our practice is trusted for advanced oral surgery procedures and comfortable root canal treatment.
Our team of experienced, dedicated dental professionals will help address your oral health concerns, and determine the best solution for you based on your individual situation. We strive to identify treatment options that fit your needs.
Our dental specialists include our general dentist, Dr. Nilofer Khan, our endodontist, Dr. Sabek, and our periodontist, Dr. Amir Danesh. Dr. Danesh is a board-certified periodontist and Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology. He has contributed to the publication of two books, as well as published over 20 papers in prestigious dental research journals.
We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we accept all major PPO plans for dental insurance and also offer our in-house dental plan. Please see our financing page for more information.