Thursday, May 4, 2023

Your Smile Changes as You Age

It's true...your smile changes as you age. Some changes are due to natural biological processes, including bone remodeling and the tendency of the teeth to shift towards each other. Other reasons your smile changes with age may include:

Post-Orthodontic Teeth Shifting - If you had orthodontic treatment in the past, but forgot to wear your retainer, the teeth will naturally begin shifting back towards their old positions.

Wrong Bite - Misalignment of the teeth or jaw, known as malocclusion, doesn’t sort itself out. In many cases, if issues like crowding, spacing or an excessive overbite, underbite, open bite or crossbite aren’t treated, they will get worse as you get older. After years of living with a bad bite, you may also be dealing with the consequences of misalignment, such as tooth decay, gum disease, excessive wear of the enamel. These issues will create further changes to your smile.

Bottom Teeth Crowding - As you age, your jawbone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jawbone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth and this crowding can worsen with age.

Overlapping Teeth - Many people experience what’s known as mesial drift. It’s a slow, natural shifting of the teeth towards the front of your dental arch. As the teeth move towards the midline, they can overlap. It can be worsened by missing teeth, gum disease, bruxism, and decay.

Front Teeth Gap - Referred to as a diastema, space between the two front teeth can be caused by gum disease, the tongue pushing between the front teeth when swallowing, or a discrepancy in jaw size that was never treated.

Collapsing Teeth - If you have gaps in your teeth, missing teeth that weren’t replaced or severe wear of the enamel, the teeth around the spaces can collapse inwardly. This is because the teeth try to fill in the empty spaces. As the teeth tilt or shift into the gaps, it will impact the appearance of your smile, as well as your bite. Missing teeth may also change your face shape.

Changes in the Length or Shape of Teeth - All of the biting and chewing you do causes the enamel to slowly wear down. Teeth grinding and clenching, known as bruxism, can speed up the process. This impacts your smile by making your teeth look shorter. Teeth can also change shape with age as they wear down. Gum recession does the opposite by exposing more tooth surface and making teeth look longer. It can also leave visible black spaces between the teeth as pockets form.

While these changes may be completely normal, that doesn’t mean you just have to live with them. There are ways to minimize these age-related changes and keep your smile looking its best throughout your life.  Whether you’re eight or 80, the biological process of orthodontic treatment is the same. Check out our website to learn more about the options we have for adult orthodontics and then give our Katy, TX office a call to schedule your initial exam.


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