8035 W Manchester Suite B
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
Minor, Robert W D.D.S.
550 Water St # I1
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060-4134
Shirani, Ray R D.D.S.
841 Blossom Hill Rd # 202
San Jose, CA, 95123-2704
Munce, C John D.D.S.
1525 State St # 201
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101-6512
Green Valley Oral Care
8521 Norwalk Blvd # G
Whittier, CA, 90606-3300
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.
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.
Attrition can be the result of one or a combination of problems such as:
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.
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.
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
Cosmetic dentistry and plastic surgery both blend health care with artistry and beautification. However, before we can beautify a person's smile, we must have a complete understanding of your dental makeover, not just an appreciation of, beauty.
Some of the first people to understand beauty were not health care specialists, but rather, artists. Great painters and sculptors studied anatomy, perspective, illusion, proportion, idealism and symmetry in order to recreate the beauty they saw.
Esthetic surgeons and cosmetic dentists create better-looking smiles. A cosmetic dentist creates pleasing-looking teeth, while the surgeon helps you feel more like smiling.
If cosmetic dentists and esthetic surgeons want to create beautiful smiles, they must begin to think like the great dental makeover artists. Michelangelo would never have considered one of his masterpieces complete until it was framed properly. The same goes for cosmetic dentistry. If we think of the teeth as the masterpiece, the frame is the surrounding soft tissue (such as the gums, jawbones, facial muscles, lips, and skin). We cannot consider one without the other.
Let's look at the areas of the face that contribute to the smile.
The support of the lips is very important. If the teeth are properly contoured and there is a normal bite, the lip support is nearly always adequate. When it is inadequate, it is correctable.
Aside from the teeth, the chin also plays a role in the shape of the lips. A weak chin can give lips a protruded appearance. The solution is to increase the fullness of the chin through cosmetic plastic surgery.
The next area of cosmetic dentistry focus in your dental makeover is the shape of the mouth. The lips and the teeth are of primary importance to the support of the lips; however, the facial muscles of expression are what control the smile.
When the corners of the mouth are either turned up or down, they convey the feeling of happiness or sadness. Soft tissue corrections around the mouth should be corrected after the teeth and jawbones are corrected.
Other facial features that can be surgically altered to contribute to a terrific smile are:
For further information on your dental makeover, consult with a cosmetic dentist, dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Each of these specialists works in close relationship with each other and can further counsel you on the best cosmetic dentistry treatment to improve your smile.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS