When we’re younger, our teeth are beautiful. They are white, luminous, and long. And it can be relatively easy to keep them that way. Many young people don’t brush or floss as often as they should, but their smiles don’t seem to suffer much.
However, that changes as we get older. Often because of our youthful inattention, we may face challenges to keeping our smiles beautiful as we get older. Fortunately, if you’re finding this too hard on your own, a cosmetic dentist can help you keep your smile beautiful at any age.
Restoring Eroded Teeth
Erosion can be very damaging to your teeth. Erosion refers to the destruction of your teeth by acids in the mouth. Tooth enamel is a very hard mineral substance, but it’s vulnerable to acids. These acids may come from food and drink, or they may be stomach acids related to GERD, eating disorders, or chronic vomiting.
Erosion will significantly degrade the appearance of your teeth. Enamel isn’t just the strongest part of your teeth, it’s the bright white, beautiful external layer. When it gets damaged, the darker yellow dentin shows through. This causes your teeth to become discolored in ways that teeth whitening can’t fix. Instead, veneers or dental crowns are used to give your teeth a more attractive appearance. And here’s a bonus: these restorations are resistant to acid, so they’ll protect your teeth from future erosion.
Treating Worn Teeth
Wear is what occurs when your natural teeth contact hard foods or opposing teeth during chewing or teeth clenching and grinding.
As your teeth get worn down from the top, their proportions change. They grow shorter and squarer. They also lose their individual character. While youthful central incisors are longer than the teeth next to them, when they get worn down all the teeth are the same height.
Cosmetic dentistry can build up teeth that are worn down to restore their youthful appearance. This does more than restore your smile: it can be like a nonsurgical facelift. As teeth get worn down, the facial support structure shrinks, which makes it look like you have excess skin. By building your teeth up, you can rejuvenate your facial proportions so that you look more youthful.
Preventing Tooth Wear
Of course, significant tooth wear is not inevitable. Tooth wear is accelerated by an imbalanced bite that puts excessive force on your teeth. This can be related to TMJ, stress, or bad habits. Skilled neuromuscular dentists can look at the forces in your bite and track down the causes of tooth wear. This can help you avoid tooth wear in the first place so you can enjoy a youthful smile longer.
Decay Risk Increases
Not all adults get tooth decay, but most will. At least 90% of American adults develop tooth decay. Erosion can accelerate the process of tooth decay by making it easier for bacteria to cling to the teeth.
As we get older, we produce less saliva. To some extent, this is natural. But it may also occur as a result of medications we take. Because saliva kills oral bacteria, less saliva means more bacteria, which means more cavities.
Restorations Don’t All Look the Same
As we develop cavities, erosion, and tooth wear, we also get dental restorations to treat them. If you got metal restorations, especially metal amalgam, you may have always been unhappy with their appearance. And these can discolor the whole tooth, not just where the filling is. Other times, these restorations may look beautiful at first, but can change appearance so that they are no longer attractive.
Another problem is that restorations that match at first can change color differently with age, so that they no longer match. The result is a smile that can look unattractive because of the numerous different color restorations.
But replacing old restorations with a full set of new, attractive ones, can help you restore your beautiful smile.
Tooth Loss Increases, Too
Tooth loss is also a more serious risk as we get older. The cumulative effect of wear, erosion, and decay, may do irreparable damage to teeth. In addition, gum disease risk can increase with age because of declining salival levels. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Fortunately, replacement options such as dental implants and FOY ® Dentures allow us to give you back your beautiful smile, even if it’s missing a few teeth.
Help to Keep Your Smile Beautiful
If you are having trouble keeping your smile beautiful as you get older, we can help. We can prevent damaging tooth wear, and restore teeth damaged by wear, erosion, or decay. We can also replace old, unattractive restorations with new, beautiful, matching ones.
To learn how we can help you enjoy a beautiful smile at any age, please call (843) 706-2999 today for an appointment with a Hilton Head cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.