Healthy Teeth, Youthful Face: Making the Connection between Dental Health & Facial Aging.

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Have you ever wondered why people with dentures look older with or without their dentures? This finding is one of the favorite subjects of cartoonists and humorists trying to make light of some of life's unfortunate situations. There is a very good anatomical explanation for making a connection between the health your teeth and gums and facial aging. Poor dental health has a very significant negative effect on the appearance of your face. Regardless of your facial features, your smile and the condition of your teeth are one of the first features that a stranger notices when you first meet them. Discolorations, unevenness, an altered bite or missing teeth significantly detracts from the youthfulness and attractiveness of the face. Gingivitis, or gum disease, in addition to causing tooth loss leads to bone absorption of the mandibular and bones. Loss of teeth from trauma, surgery, or extractions also has a negative effect on bone volume. The bones of the face need the forces generated by the teeth to maintain their volume. Loss of boney volume causes a decrease of the vertical dimension of the face (VDF) or facial height. This decrease in facial height leads to premature drooping of the soft tissues of the face. In some patients this can manifest as more prominent naso-labial folds, labio-mandibular folds or lines around the mouth and lower cheeks. In cases where the bone loss is uneven, it can contribute to asymmetries of the face. While cosmetic surgery procedure such as fillers, fat injections and facelifts can help reverse some of the signs of facial aging caused by poor dentition, treating the "root cause" leads to better results. Regular dental care, orthodontia, dental Implants and gum surgery can go a long way to restoring dental health while improving the overall appearance of your face. If you feel that your dental health may be affecting your facial appearance consider consulting with both a cosmetic dentist and a Plastic Surgeon about ways to rejuvenate the face.
Robert F. Centeno M.D., F.A.C.S.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Article by
Columbus Plastic Surgeon