Bad Teeth & Oral Health Can Make You Look Older
As you grow older, you can expect some changes in the way your face looks. There are apt to be a few more wrinkles, your mouth and chin may shrink some, and you will likely have teeth that are yellowed or missing. These and other signs of aging can make you look older, but some of these traits can be altered with cosmetic dentistry to enable you to reverse aging, letting you look years younger again.
Teeth WhiteningOne feature that is a standard characteristic of older people is that they have yellowed teeth. This is a natural process that is caused by the wearing away of the enamel on the teeth, which lets more of the layer underneath show through – the dentin, which is yellow. There are many ways to whiten teeth today, and having white teeth again will remove some age off your face.
Going to the dentist for teeth whitening will give you the whitest teeth fast. Since the dentist is supervising the process, stronger chemicals can be used than what you would get at the store. The fastest process is with laser teeth whitening, which can whiten teeth five or six shades in one sitting. Some tooth colors, however, will take more than one treatment, and older teeth may not whiten as much.
Gum DiseaseProblems such as gum disease can also make you look older. Mild gum disease, called gingivitis, really does not cause much damage. Once it becomes periodontitis, however, the damage could be extensive. The bacterium that causes it gets into your gums and starts an immune reaction. The reaction continues below the gum line and it slowly destroys your gums, your support structures for your teeth, and your jawbone. Eventually, your teeth will become loose and fall out. This is the major reason why adults lose their teeth today.
While it is still gingivitis, it can be removed simply by brushing and flossing. Once it becomes periodontitis, you will need the help of a dentist to get rid of it. The good news is that a dentist can completely remove it, usually using a process called scaling and root planing, which means manually going into the pockets to remove the bacteria. Some of the damage can be restored through surgical means, possibly requiring bone surgery, gum surgery, and dental implants. In some cases, all of your teeth may need to be extracted.
Gum disease is a greater problem if you smoke heavily and drink a lot of alcohol. This will not only promote gum disease and oral cancer, but it will also slow the healing process when provided.
Gum Disease and Your HealthBesides just damaging your gums and teeth, gum disease is also a threat to your body. The inflammation that occurs during gum disease has been found to play a part in other major illnesses. There is now a known connection between gum disease and the development of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, several forms of cancer, and more.
When you have diabetes, it can make gum disease worse. Since the bacteria that causes it feeds on sugar, and since it gets into your bloodstream from your gums, diabetes causes it to have access to all the sugar it needs to produce inflammation anywhere. Controlling gum disease is necessary to control diabetes – and vice versa.
Missing TeethIf you have missing teeth, it also will make you look older – especially if they have been missing for some time. When teeth are lost, the jaw bone under the place where the teeth were lost is partially reabsorbed. As much as 40 to 60 percent of the bone can be reabsorbed. When this happens, your jaw may shrink, adding wrinkles to your face.
The way to prevent jawbone shrinkage when a tooth is missing is to get a dental implant right away. This will enable your jaw to retain its shape. If bone has already been lost, it may be rebuilt with bone surgery. In fact, your jawbone can be restored to its younger size, removing wrinkles and giving you a fuller jaw and chin.
Dental ImplantsA dental implant is a replacement tooth root made of titanium. It is placed into the jawbone and a crown is put on top that resembles your natural teeth. Your bone and gums will naturally attach to the implant, anchoring it solidly in place. Dental implants can be used to replace one or more teeth or even all of them.
Dental VeneersAnother way the dentist can restore your teeth to make you look younger is by adding dental veneers to your teeth. Veneers are thin layers of porcelain or other material that are added to your teeth. They can be used to hide many problems, such as discolored teeth, short teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth, and can even close spaces between teeth.
FillingsIf you have a lot of silver fillings, this will make you look older, because it can make your teeth look gray instead of white. The silver fillings can be removed and tooth-colored composite material can be used instead, making your teeth look more natural. Old fillings also may become worn and this can lead to cavities in the spaces surrounding the filling.
Receding GumsWhen your gums recede, which is both a natural part of aging and also a result of gum disease, it will make you look older because your teeth look longer. This is a problem because the roots of your teeth become exposed and cavities can easily develop. Gum surgery (pinhole gum surgery) can restore your gums for a younger look.
When you want to remove some of the signs of aging and reverse the aging process, you can get cosmetic dentistry from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He has offices in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas, and provides many dental services to help you look younger. For a consultation or treatment to get better oral health, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578