We hear a lot of expert advice on how to keep your skin from aging, but in the many websites, editorials, and books there is very little mention of how to sustain the youth of your teeth and smile. In time, a smile will age just as much as your skin and face. Thus, it’s very important to be aware of what causes your smile to age, and avoid adding unnecessary years to your appearance. The upkeep of a long-lasting smile is simple when you are knowledgeable, and keeping your teeth as white as possible is the easiest way to do so.
The color of your teeth is the number one factor contributing to your aging smile. When your teeth have gray-ish tones or yellow-ish shades, it can add 5, even 10 years to the age of your smile. In general, whitening is a good option for removing surface stains from teeth. Teeth that have a yellow-ish discoloration are usually good candidates for professional whitening. What about teeth that are gray or brown-ish discolored? Well, in the experience of the doctors at Atlanta Dental Spa, they don’t respond well to professional whitening (in-office or take home). The reason is that the color of these teeth is from deep within, not just on the surface. In these instances, all whitening the teeth will do is cause increased sensitivity. For people with dark teeth with intrinsic discoloration we usually recommend porcelain veneers as the treatment of choice.
2. Chipped teeth
This factor may come across as a “DUH!” upon first sight, but we aren’t only referring to large chips. Chipped teeth includes the minute, itty bitty chips that exist on the edges of your teeth. These not only give an appearance of uneven teeth, but it also gives away a mouth that’s experienced years of wear. The chips can be fixed simply and quickly by your dentist. It’s also very important to be conscientious going forward, as in— “don’t open that with your teeth, please.” Aesthetic bonding or porcelain veneers are excellent choices in regaining an homogenous appearance.
3. Excessive wear
The factor of excessive wear is mostly due clenching or grinding. Grinding can be attributed to a number of things like:
- Disharmony in your bite (malocclusion)
- Unknown origin (maybe even genetic)
Worn down teeth are a major factor in the appearance of aging. The teeth support the lower third of the face and when that dimension is shortened the skin folds / lines around the mouth get deepened. So not only do the teeth contribute to the worn appearance of one’s overall mouth appearance, but loss of support contributes to increased facial wrinkling! We have a couple of options for this:
- Stop the wear through a nightguard
- Restore the loss by adding length & size with porcelain
4. Extreme asymmetry
Asymmetry within your mouth causes an appearance of a crooked smile, and a crooked smile unfortunately adds many more years to your mouth than that of a straight smile. Asymmetry can sometimes be caused from grinding your teeth in one direction predominantly, causing wear to that side.
Shifting within your mouth, whether it be your gums or your teeth, also produces a crooked smile. Teeth are not static our entire lives, they can move depending on changes with your bite. Sometimes they can move when there are periodontal issues. Sometimes even professionally trained dentists have no explanation for the movement. Getting teeth “shifted” back to the correct position is easily accomplished through adult clear orthodontic systems like Invisalign or Clear Correct. Additionally, if you’re missing any teeth, then you’ve probably experienced considerable shifting patterns. If you’re missing a tooth, here’s what happens – the teeth on either side of the hole try to fill it in… as well as the tooth above / below it. That movement causes ALL the other teeth to move in compensation and could throw off your ENTIRE bite. So when we say “it’s ALL connected” (like in our Oral Systemic approach) – this applies to your bite as well!
Now that you have the knowledge and know-how about what it takes to keep your smile fresher and more youthful, all you have to do is follow our suggestions. And hey, when all is said and done, you may find a new best friend in your very own dentist! Join the ranks of people who have stopped saying “I hate going to the dentist!” Yup, patients at Atlanta Dental Spa relate to the mantra, “What if you liked going to the dentist?”