Did you know that your teeth and gums can make you look older than you are or than you feel? A number of changes to the gums and teeth as you get older can age you, from receding gums to discoloration. A number of treatments, from teeth whitening to gum grafts, not only improve the health of your mouth, they can also take years off of your appearance. If your smile is aging you, learn more about what you can do to seemingly turn back the hands of time.
All those years of drinking coffee, drinking red wine and eating blueberries can show up on your teeth in the form of stains or discoloration. But your dietary habits aren’t the only things that yellow your teeth. As you get older, the enamel on your teeth grows thinner. The dentin inside is more likely to show through and the pulp inside the tooth can also shrink.
The result is teeth that look more yellow, or that have a grayish tinge. You can fight back against discoloration in a few ways. You may want to try an at-home whitening product first, to see if that gives you any results. A more effective, but also more expensive option, is to see a dentist for an in-office whitening treatment.
Going to a dentist has several benefits. You’ll avoid over-whitening your teeth, which can look alarming. You’ll also avoid getting the bleaching material on your gums or skin, which can cause irritation.
Your gums can recede for a number of reasons as you get older. In some cases, receding gums are due to gum disease. In others, they are a result of too-vigorous tooth brushing. Some people can blame their receding gums on their genes. No matter the reason for your receding gums, you want to get them fixed, not only to improve the appearance of your smile, but for the overall health of your mouth.
Receding gums can make your teeth more sensitive, as more of the tooth is exposed. When your gums pull back, there are more places for plaque to hide, increasing your risk for complications from periodontal disease, such as bone loss.
You have a number of options when it comes to fixing gum recession. Some treatments, such as the pinhole technique™, involve shifting the position of the gums downward and don’t require the use of grafts. More traditional treatments involve taking a graft from a donor site inside the mouth while newer techniques, such as AlloDerm, involve using donor tissue from an outside source.
Worn Out Teeth
Years of chewing or of grinding your teeth while you sleep can lead to teeth that look worn out or smaller than they should. Your teeth are also more likely to chip or crack as you get older, thanks to years of wear and tear. Chipped or cracked teeth are more likely to discolor thanks to food particles that get trapped in the crevices.
How you treat worn out teeth depends on the extent of the damage. Veneers might be sufficient to smooth out chipped or cracked teeth or to add length to worn out teeth. If the tooth is very damaged, a dental implant might be the best option. The implant replaces the entire tooth. It’s designed to look and feel like a real tooth, so no one will know that you have one, unless you decide to share that information.
Teeth tend to move and change position as the years go on. Even if you had perfectly straight teeth as a teenager and had no need for braces, by the time you reach your 40s, your teeth might have started to turn inward.
While crooked teeth can look somewhat cute on a small child or teenager, they can make an older person’s smile and face age quickly. Turned in teeth don’t provide adequate support to the cheeks, which can create a hollow look. You might think you need a filler, but what you really need is a set of braces. Veneers can also be an effective way to realign crooked teeth. The added benefit of veneers is that they can improve the shape of your teeth as well as the color.
Miami dentists Dr. John Paul Gallardo offer implants, treatments for gum disease and solutions for receding gums. To find out how they can help improve the look and health of your smile, call (305) 447-1447 for an appointment today.