For many denture wearers, looking old is a major concern. Losing teeth can make one feel the pressure of time, but for most people, it doesn’t necessarily make you feel old. Instead, it can make you feel even more passionately how much youthful energy you still have. With your face and your smile, you want to show off what you still have, not advertise what you’ve lost. Fortunately, an understanding of how tooth loss and bone loss contribute to aging lets us counteract the aging process to some extent.
Your Teeth and Bones Are the Foundation of Your Face
Your teeth and bones provide the foundation for the appearance of your face. They developed together to create the youthful appearance that you achieve when they have all finished growing, in your late teens or early 20s.
This optimal balance is achieved when all your teeth are in place and the bones that support them have developed a robust structure. This creates a good foundation for your skin and musculature, which develops to fit over and articulate this robust structure.
The combination contributes to all the positive aspects of a youthful appearance: firm, full lips and cheeks; smooth, taut skin; and everything in its place.
How Aging Affects Teeth and Bones
Unfortunately, this balanced structure won’t last. As we age, our teeth wear down, which causes the vertical dimension of our face to contract. The body also removes some bone from around the teeth. As there is less tooth and bone, it seems that we suddenly have “excess” skin.
A loss of volume in the mouth can cause the skin around the mouth to fold, causing lines around the lips. It can also cause the chin to move upward as the jaw muscles continue to pull the teeth together as before. At the same time, gravity is working to pull facial tissues downward. The combination of a jaw moving upward and cheeks moving downward lead to the development of jowls, and the development of a “turkey neck.”
This process accelerates exponentially when teeth are lost. Not only is the volume lost from the teeth, but the body can begin to rapidly remove (resorb) the bone from around the teeth. Now there’s a lot less support for the tissues of the lower face, and the problems noted above become even more pronounced. Jowls and turkey neck become very significant, and the mouth may even fold completely inward, creating a sunken appearance.
This is what scientists describe as the “concertina effect”–as volume is lost in the teeth and bones, the facial skin contracts like a concertina being squeezed, causing folding and wrinkles.
Two Approaches to Rejuvenation
With our understanding of how tooth and bone loss contribute to aging, we can see that there are two potential approaches to rejuvenating the face. One is the method taken in facelift surgery: “excess” skin is cut away, and what remains is repositioned and stretched taut to try to reconstruct the appearance of youth.
But this inevitably leads to an altered facial appearance. After all, the proportions of the face are not what they were, so trying to match the skin to them cannot achieve an appearance that is youthful, natural, and consistent with a person’s unique appearance. Even if the so-called “windblown” look is avoided, the appearance will be different.
Another approach is what we use in the Denture Fountain of Youth™. Instead of trying to eliminate skin, the goal is to replace what was lost: teeth and bones. Using neuromuscular dentistry, we “read” the optimal dimensions for the face from the muscles of the jaw and other tissues so that we can reconstruct your youthful appearance from the foundation. Dental implants can also help maintain youthful proportions by ensuring that your body doesn’t remove more bone.
Obviously, this won’t address skin changes related to sun damage and a loss of elasticity, but, when paired with nonsurgical skin treatments, the result is remarkable–and true to your actual youthful appearance.
If you would like to learn more about using the Denture Fountain of Youth™ to rejuvenate your appearance, please call (02) 9686 7375 for an appointment with a Sydney denture dentist at My Hills Dentist in Baulkham Hills.