Visit a Cosmetic Dentist - Raise Your Self-Esteem
What can cosmetic dental work do for your self-esteem that all the pots of cream and eyeliner on Madison Avenue can't? While we agree with the ad men that esthetics motivate how people see us, value us, and respond to us, true natural beauty has to do with good health, not technique with a make-up brush. When you admire the dazzling smile of that Revlon model, will you buy the lipstick - or seek the restorative dentistry that perfected the smile? Dentistry thee smile to health and symmetry. Cosmetics? Sure. But call on cosmetic dentistry for a beautiful smile that won't wash off.
- Vertical dimension is a key element in a pretty smile. It is the height between two points - one on the upper jaw, one on the lower - when the bite is closed. When vertical dimension is askew, facial features can appear "collapsed." A good denture maintains esthetic vertical dimension, likewise muscle tone and youthful looks.
- Sex a factor in dentistry? So-called masculine front teeth are boxier, more prominent, with "bold" cuspids, slightly rotated. A "feminine" smile has more delicate, rounder teeth, and open incisal embrasures, spaces, between the curved surfaces of adjoining teeth. This norm is changing, though. Women are seeking a "sportier" look.
- The "smile line" is used by some believers as a guide to cosmetic dental harmony. The theory goes that the curve of the bottom lip should reflect the curve of the upper front teeth. Whether your six front teeth are natural, or part of a denture or dental bridge, restorative dentistry can help bring out the best in your smile line.
- An early orthodontics evaluation assures healthy growth into a sound, balanced bite. The position of the jaw will determine profile. For jaw abnormalities, orthognathic surgery brings nothing short of miraculous results.
- Wear. As we age, our front teeth naturally wear down to an even line. Rounding edges with tooth bonding or dental veneers will achieve a younger aspect.
- Beautiful gums are intrinsic to a beautiful smile. Coral in color, firm-healthy gums are, well, sexy.
- Euclid's concept of "golden proportion" is followed by many cosmetic dentistry professionals. The rule holds that the most esthetically pleasing smile has certain proportions. Each tooth in this "perfect" smile is about 60% the size of the tooth just in front of it.
- Young teeth have more texture - stippling, concavity - than older teeth worn smooth with age.
- Light. The way teeth reflect light is another factor in pleasing the eye. Dental crowns, bridgework, dentures and other cosmetic dental work can be tinted to capture and reflect light just like natural teeth. Michelangelo, move over.
- A low lip line - one that hides tooth and gum in a grin - can be compensated for by veneering. The front teeth are lengthened to regain "ideal" form.
Is Your Nose Getting Closer To Your Chin? Restorative Dentistry Can Help!
Everyone, even your dentist, knows that when we age, we see certain changes in our face (for example, wrinkled skin, less skin tone, shrunken appearance). The soft tissue in the lower one-third of the face is supported by the teeth and jawbone, and gives support to your smile. As we age, we lose support to our smile and we begin to appear older.
Anatomically, the face is divided into thirds: the upper, middle and lower one-third. The space between your nose and your chin is referred to as the lower one-third. The teeth support the vertical height of your lower face, and more specifically the back teeth support your lower face.
Most dentists agree that minimal and gradual wearing away of the top enamel of the teeth is considered normal during the lifespan of a patient. However, excessive wear on the top surfaces of the teeth can result in abscessed teeth, an irregular bite, decreased chewing capacity and esthetic disharmony. Patients with these types of problems often require extensive restorative cosmetic dentistry treatment.
How Common Is Tooth Wear?
Although the prevalence of tooth wear, or attrition, is not known, it is thought to be very common in adults over the age of 40. The wearing of the top surfaces of the teeth is most often attributed to attrition, which is the wearing away of one tooth surface by another tooth surface. Attrition is the result of bruxism, or the involuntary grinding of the teeth against each other.
How Does Attrition Occur?
Attrition can be the result of one or a combination of problems such as:
- Congenital Abnormalities: Hereditary abnormalities can cause the malformation of the surfaces of the teeth. This can result in a thin and/or brittle outer layer of the tooth. This leaves the tooth more susceptible to surface wear and a more rapid attrition of tooth structure.
- Parafunctional Habits: One type of parafunctional habit is bruxism, as explained above. Other habits often associated with attrition include biting on needles, pipe stems, pencils, or finger nails as well as clenching. Many studies have related stress to attrition.
- Abrasion: It is defined as the wearing away of tooth tissue through mechanical processes. The top surfaces of the teeth are abraded away usually by diet, chewing of abrasives such as tobacco and environmental factors such as constant exposure to dust and grit (in farming).
- Erosion: Erosion is the destruction of hard dental tissues by chemical action. Diets high in acidic content like juices, colas and other carbonated drinks are examples of the foods that cause erosion. Patients who suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia are prime examples of erosion due to the high acid nature of stomach acids that are constantly regurgitated into the mouth.
What Is the Result of Worn Teeth?
Depending on the severity of the tooth wear, teeth may be broken, shortened and unattractive. Having worn teeth can result in jaw joint pain (TMJ), a decreased ability to chew and a sunken appearance to the lower face. All of these results can make a person appear more wrinkled and older.
Can Worn Teeth Be Fixed with Fillings?
Generally, the worn teeth will have to have new fillings placed or redone. When severe wear occurs in the mouth, a dental crown or multiple crowns may be the only solution.
Can Tooth Wear Be Prevented?
Yes, tooth wear can be prevented, but only if you make regular visits to the dentist. If detected early enough, your dentist may prescribe a plastic night guard to protect your teeth, much like an athletic mouth guard.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS