Weight gain, decreased flexibility and lessened sense perception are some of the side effects of aging; changes to tooth appearance and a decrease in dental health also are part of the equation. It is because aging impacts the oral cavity on a multitude of levels that the dental idiom of being “long in the tooth” (a kind way of saying old) was born.
Anyone who has gone through the aging process or have just entered the threshold, will tell you the process is a surreal experience. On the inside individuals tent to feel like they did as a kid, while arguing the fact with the image of an elder reflected back in a mirror. As a result, many individuals are committed to fighting the battle with procedures such as cosmetic dentistry and Westover Hills Family Dental wanted to provide our seasoned reasons with the dental news surrounding the aging process as well as some dental solutions to help improve the situation.
How Teeth Age
Teeth aging can impact both appearance and dental health. As we get older, the body’s systems start to slow down and the biological change will influence every organ, tooth and hair follicle.
In regards to how a smile looks, a mix of aging skin and shifting teeth can cause the change. The older folks get, the less elasticity skin will have the thinner the organ can appear and can highlight the changes and dental problems occurring in the oral cavity. Teeth support and give form to the lower portion of the face and natural shift over time. The combo of thin skin and shifting teeth can cause a myriad of changes to appearance; lips may begin to tip inward and look thinner and teeth with excessive wear and tear can fail to properly prop up cheek fat making cheekbones hollow out and make wrinkles pop! Plus, gums can recede, creating the dreaded long tooth effect.
A lifetime of behaviors can influence other oral changes associated with age. Individuals over the age of 65 who still proudly boast their natural teeth will experience more dental problems than their younger counterparts because of the biological changes that will impact oral health. According to the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging, the five most common dental problems associated with growing old are:
- Dry Mouth caused by a natural decrease in saliva production.
- Changes in denture fit caused by changes in teeth and gum lines.
- Gum disease impacted by less effective oral hygiene.
- More tooth decay influenced by less saliva, ill-fitting dentures and gum disease.
- Increased odds of developing oral cancer.
Good oral hygiene practices including brushing, flossing, eating a nutritious diet, exercising and drinking clean fresh water are some of the ways an individual can fight the battle on their own. However, when those efforts are backed by regular dental visits and enhanced with cosmetic dentistry, the results can help a person look a decade younger!
Cosmetic Dentistry for Aging
No two people age in exactly the same way and while Betty may constantly be fighting the curse of her middle aged spread, John may notice that his teeth are now filled with gaps and have shifted despite wearing dental braces during his teen years. Regardless of what type of sign of aging you see in your mouth, chances are there is a cosmetic dentistry procedure to improve the condition:
- Dental Veneers: Westover Hills Family Dental defines dental veneers as being “… thin, porcelain shells that are attached to your existing teeth,” and the devices are an excellent option for those who want to either reduce the appearance of diastema, oral over crowding, excessive wear and tear or tooth staining beyond repair. Individuals can either choose natural looking veneers option or go for a bit more glamor, but only a skilled professional dentist should be entrusted with the task.
- Professional Tooth Bleaching: Within the cosmetic dentistry profession, tooth whitening is an incredibly popular choice, and individuals looking to restore their now grey or yellowed teeth back to the pearly whites of yesteryear may want to consider professional-grade tooth whitening as an option. Although there are plenty of at-home options to treat tooth staining or tooth discoloration, as a person ages there may be reasons why the DIY kits may not work and a cosmetic dentist has the skills to work around most situations.
- Dental Work Restoration: By middle age, most individuals have a mouth filled with dental work including fillings, dental crowns and even dental implants. Over time, most of those dental treatments will show signs of aging including cracking, chipping and being worn down and a cosmetic dentist can replace all those options with new and improved versions to maintain dental health and make a smile attractive.
- Gum Grafting: Gum grafting is a type of dental surgery that can be implemented to restore gums that have receded over time. The procedure can not only improve dental health, but eliminate the appearance of hyper elongation that may occur over time.
Final Word on Aging Teeth
Individuals wanting to fight the oral changes associated with aging tooth and nail (pun intended) can entrust a skilled dentist to implement dental treatments to improve physical signs of aging and oral health. Westover Hills Family Dental has helped millions of people both young and old, find a dentist to improve their dental health over the years and you can too!