Anti-aging dentistry is a sub-category of cosmetic dentistry designed to reverse the signs of aging in the lower third of the face. A person may seek out anti-aging dentistry due to a narrow arch that creates the appearance of a hollowed jaw, shortened teeth from wear that makes a squished lower third of the face to correct the shape and color of the teeth. Anti-aging dentistry can widen the arch as well as lengthen and correct the appearance of the teeth for a more youthful smile. Anti-aging dentistry can also correct teeth that are tilting inward and creating a thin looking upper lip as well as reverse stains to make the teeth look whiter.
GOOD CANDIDATES for anti-aging dentistry include:
Patents that are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES are:
Anti-aging dentistry often involves a combination of veneers or crowns in the mouth of a patient. Some patients might need four veneers on their front teeth to get better lip support and a better smile. Others may need ten veneers (or more) for the entire smile line to show properly. Sometimes, a patient has ground their teeth to the point they appear too short and the lips and cheeks look collapsed. In this case, the dentist will need to work on the entire mouth. The dentist will use crowns and veneers on all of the teeth in order to get back to the original length before the grinding process started. This gives the patient better support and decreased lines in the corners of the lips.
If a person needs many alterations in order to correct their deficiencies, the dentist may need to perform the procedure in segments to ensure the alterations will not take too long. A patient may experience lip biting, tongue biting, cheek biting or an uncomfortable bite if the procedure is not performed properly. To help alleviate some of these biting issues, upper and lower impressions are taken of the mouth prior to the procedure. These impressions are turned into a model so the patient can see the expected outcome. The patient wears a temporary model to give an idea of the final results of the veneers and crowns. The dentist grinds down the temporary model until the proper fitting is established. It is then sent to a lab in order to create the final veneers and crowns.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is anchored surgically into the jaw in order to hold a replacement bridge or tooth in place. Implants look and feel like natural teeth and are permanent additions to the mouth. They can be placed directly on the jawbone or, if the jaw structure is limited, a custom-made metal framework can be placed directly onto the existing bone.
Teeth whitening lightens the teeth and also removes discoloration and stains that appear over time. During an in-office treatment, a gel is applied directly to the surface of the teeth. A light or laser can be used to activate the gel and bleach the teeth. Patients who use home whitening treatments will fill a mouthpiece with a whitening gel and wear the mouthpiece for several hours each day. It can take a few weeks to achieve the desired amount of whitening using the mouthpiece. Whitening treatments can also be purchased over the counter.
Here are some of the issues anti-aging dentistry addresses:
Sagging cheeks – Patients that are missing teeth can also suffer from sagging cheeks. As time passes, the skin will shift due to the holes in the smile from the missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants can fill-in gaps in the smile as well as add volume to the cheeks by filling out the area and eliminating wrinkles around the mouth.
Stained teeth – The teeth can become stained and dark as a person ages thanks to food and beverages that stain the teeth such as wine, coffee and berries. A teeth whitening treatment revitalizes the smile, and makes a person look younger, by removing the stains from the teeth.
Worn down teeth – The teeth undergo a significant amount of wear and tear as a person ages. This wear and tear can affect how well the jaw functions as well as cause discomfort for a person. This issue can be resolved thanks to veneers or crowns placed on the worn teeth to lengthen them.
Chipped or broken teeth – As the teeth age, they can chip or break due to natural wear and tear or bad habits like opening items using the teeth. Broken and chipped teeth can be fixed using dental implants or porcelain crowns to adjust the appearance as well as the size and shape of the teeth.
The cost of anti-aging dentistry varies per patient depending on the individual needs of the person. The total cost depends on the treatment used to correct the issues. Here are the average costs of anti-aging dentistry treatments:
Teeth Whitening – At home treatments can cost in the range of $80-$100 while in-office treatments cost $400-$650.
Veneers – The cost of veneers is $800-$2000 per tooth.
Dental Implants – The cost of a dental implant is in the range of $1000-$4500 per implant.
Dental Crowns – The cost of a single crown is anywhere from $800-$2500 depending on the type of crown placed in the mouth.
The above costs do not include any fees charged by the doctor as well as any facility fees.
With anti-aging dentistry, there should be relatively little pain or discomfort during the procedure. The patient will walk out of the office feeling numb and may experience some swelling during the RECOVERY process. When the numbness wears off, there may be some pressure because the temporary models are all connected to each other at this point. Over the counter medications can be used to relieve the pressure.
The DOWNTIME is limited and a patient can go back to work the next day wearing temporary veneers or crowns or a dental implant. The patient will want to make sure the temporaries are comfortable in order to make the permanent dental work a good fit. During this time, a patient must be very careful with what they eat in order to not break or stain their dental work.
Every patient is different and therefore veneers and crowns may last longer on one person than another. The main reason a person may need to change their crowns and veneers is that they get gum recession. The roots of their teeth begin to show or they have gaps between their teeth due to bone loss or gum recession. Another reason a patient may need them replaced is breakage. Just as a person can bite into something and break a tooth, crowns and veneers can also be broken. Even though the crown or veneer cannot get a cavity, the area where the tooth meets the crown or veneer can get a cavity. Therefore, the crown or veneer might need to be replaced due to a cavity.
Typically, crowns and veneers can last 10-15 years. It is what the person does while wearing them that causes the breakdown. It is what they chew on, how they chew and how well they are taking care of them that determines the length of the results. If the patient is a clincher or grinder, they should wear a night guard to protect their teeth. Proper brushing, flossing and cleaning can help a crown or veneer last longer by warding off cavities on the adjoining tooth.
The results from dental implants are long lasting and can even last a lifetime.
Teeth whitening results can last anywhere from 6 months to a year.
The main limitations of anti-aging dentistry are:
The results from teeth whitening are limited in the amount of time they last. The results are not permanent and will need to be repeated on a regular basis.
The main risks with anti-aging dentistry are:
All dentists give their patients instructions to follow after anti-aging dentistry is performed in order to keep their new teeth whiter. Patients should follow this advice and limit their consumption of staining beverages and foods. If they want to drink beverages that can stain their new teeth, they should sip them from a straw or from a cup with a ventilated lid. The work performed by the dentist is rather costly so it is in the best interest of patients to maintain the results and not require any modifications after the work is completed.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team – SP
Based on an exclusive interview with Kouroush Maddahi, in Beverly Hills, CA