Aging of the teeth and the bite greatly influence the appearance of the face. Even worse, they are many health problems that arise from the aging dentition. With age, the distance from our nose to our chin starts to decrease. In reality, about a third of your lower face shrinks. The changes in your face will give you an older, more mature look. As the face shrinks or collapses, wrinkles appear deeper around the cheeks, mouth and chin. If you add in some tooth loss, this appearance can be made worse giving a “hollowed cheek” appearance and sagging or indented cheeks. Couple this with crooked, chipped and discolored aging teeth and you can quickly see the contribution teeth have to overall appearance.
In addition, many patients do not realize that when they get headaches or clicking and popping jaw joints, they may be aging prematurely due to bite disease. A bite disorder, or bite disease, occurs when the position of the lower jaw in relation to the upper jaw and to both TMJ joints is not in harmony. The majority of the adult population (approximately 80%) have disharmony with their bite and many of them are not even aware that it may cause or contribute to their headaches, sleep apnea, neck, back pain and tension. Patients with a collapsed bite may have ringing their ears, neck aches and tension headaches. Correcting the bite disease and repairing the teeth allows more freedom in the jaw and can greatly improve a patient’s profile, correct sleep apnea, fill out lips and erase wrinkles. Being pain free and smiling more often contributes greatly to a more youthful and engaging appearance.
If you are considering plastic surgery, look at your teeth. If they are worn, missing or crooked, a better option may be cosmetic dentistry. Many people go “under the knife” when what they don’t realize is that really need cosmetic dentistry. Realignment of teeth and replacing missing teeth can make a huge difference with how you look, reducing wrinkles, brightening your smile and even making a nose appear smaller.
Do this test at home: If a bite is in a healthy position, look in the mirror, pull down your lower lip and bite your teeth together. If you don’t see much of your lower teeth, you have what dentists call a closed bite. Patients with a closed bite may experience more jaw pain, sleep apnea, tooth wear and premature facial aging.