As Bette Davis one noted, “Getting old is not for sissies.” For most people, this quote brings to mind the increase in aches and pains, the need for knee replacements, and the purchase of progressive lens eyewear. In contrast, an orthodontist thinks about how aging impacts someone’s smile, and what can be done to address these changes.
4 Common Smile Changes Over Time
There are typically four changes that occur in the mouth as we age, which are:
- Crowding of the Bottom Teeth. The jaw bone loses dentist and shrinks as we age, creating a mismatch between this bone and the teeth. Typically, this is crowding occurs with the bottom front teeth and can result in increased cavities and bad breath. Other potential causes of lower teeth crowding are mouth breathing, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting or facial trauma.
- Front Tooth Gap. This gap has a clinical name, diastema, and can occur for several reasons, such as a disproportionate relationship to the jawbone and teeth or general overcrowding. The act of swallowing can also change as we age, shirting tongue pressure from the roof of your mouth to the front of the teeth. In addition, inflammation from gum disease can result in a front tooth gap.
- Post Orthodontic Teeth Shifting. Many people received orthodontic care when they were young, but how many still use their retainers or even know where they are? This lack of post-care structure, along with other changes such as lost or restored teeth, can contribute to this issue.
- Misaligned Bite. With the loss of density in the jaw bone, a misalignment can occur between the upper and lower jaws, which is called malocclusion. This misalignment can result in headaches, teeth grinding, clicking or popping of the jaw joints, and even, oddly, back pain.
While you can’t stop the march of time, you don’t have to live with the consequences of these orthodontic changes. There are many treatments that can address these issues and reduce or eliminate the health problems they cause. Treatments may include:
- Adult Braces/Invisalign. Unlike those from your childhood, today’s options designed for ease of use and are often unnoticeable. You don’t have to worry about being teased as a “metal mouth” but instead can make steady, unobtrusive progress towards an improved smile and healthier mouth.
- New Retainer. If you had orthodontic care in the past, a new retainer that is consistent with the current location of your teeth is a great way to avoid further shifting.
- Mouth Guard. A mouth guard can protect your teeth from the damage caused by grinding.
Other options and therapies may be needed to address specific issues but the best place to start is by speaking with an orthodontist. At DeDomenico Orthodontists, we serve a significant adult patient population and can help you reverse the negative impact of aging on your teeth. We will conduct an evaluation of your mouth and create a care plan to address your needs. With two skilled orthodontist and four convenient locations, it’s easy to make an appointment that fits your schedule. Call us now at (813)961-1313 or go online to schedule an appointment.