One aspect of orthodontics that I’ve always loved is the close relationship it creates between science and art.
Combining science, creativity and the golden ratio enables orthodontists to achieve significant improvements in facial aesthetics that many people once
thought only possible with plastic surgery. Now we’re learning these aesthetic improvements actually improve the aging process.
I know you may have a difficult time believing that improvements achieved through orthodontic treatment can be compared to those achieved by going under the knife. Visit the American Association of Orthodontists’ website and take a look at their page titled Positive Aging Through Orthodontics to see for yourself.
We continue to uncover the powerful role orthodontic treatment plays in altering facial characteristics to improve aesthetics. It is worth noting that some of the people on the Positive Aging Through Orthodontics page underwent treatment as adults. Orthodontists can change facial structure at any age.
The greatest improvements can be achieved during childhood and the teenage years when we can use the fact that the patient still is growing to our benefit.
Here is what the AAO says about the subject: “By anticipating how the jaw and facial bones will grow, how the smile changes over time and understanding the dynamic relationship between the teeth, the lips, the jaw and other facial structures, the orthodontist can literally sculpt the face of the patient during treatment. Even adults report significant improvements in their face structure after completing orthodontic treatment, along with the boost in confidence in their professional and personal lives that comes with a perfected and healthy smile.”
The Bigger Picture of Facial Aesthetics
Speaking of boosting confidence in your professional life, a recent study found that appearance plays an influential role in finding a job. An article published in the October 2014 issue of the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics found that people who have ideal smiles are considered more intelligent, and have a greater chance of finding a job.
We all know that self-esteem and confidence increase when we feel good about the way we look. Orthodontists understand that while we view bite discrepancies and teeth alignment issues as functional problems that are important to address, our patients frequently are most concerned about looking better after treatment. Both aspects are worthy of our attention. But this study shows that our patients’ desires aren’t just rooted in vanity; they have merit.
You need only look at a set of before/after photos of patients to see confidence revealed through orthodontic treatment. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve taken “before” photos of patients who wouldn’t voluntarily show their teeth when smiling, but once treatment was over and we snapped those “after” pictures, they exuded confidence through their broad, proud smiles.
How Your Smile Shows Your Age
In addition to giving others insight into your confidence level, your smile can reveal telltale signs of age:
Teeth become worn
Your teeth naturally wear down as we age, and this causes the soft tissue around the mouth to sag.
Your skin in your face has less fat and elasticity
The loss of fat and skin elasticity in the face also occurs as we age. This can cause additional sagging in the area around your mouth.
You show less of your upper teeth when smiling
As the soft tissue begins to sag and the teeth become shorter due to wear, we show less of our upper teeth when we smile, and more of our lower teeth. Showing little or no upper teeth when smiling can give you a toothless appearance.
Your teeth and lips move inward
The lips can take on a recessed appearance and give you a thinner smile, due to your teeth shortening with age. Also with age comes the gradual angling inward of your teeth. This changes the support provided to your lips and cheeks, which can create a gaunt, older appearance.
Orthodontics for Improved Aging
Orthodontists have been particularly successful at altering the contours of the lower third of the face. We are able to evaluate lip support, and how the underlying teeth can be moved to create a more pleasing facial aesthetic. We know that everyone’s smile ages as they age, so we can plan ahead for these changes by crafting a treatment plan that will help combat the signs of aging in the future.
Orthodontic treatment can combat future hollowed facial areas by moving teeth into their proper positions so they support your facial structures in the best way possible. This helps promote a longer lasting youthful appearance.
A long, narrow face, a protruding or receding chin, and nasiolabial skin folds often can be improved with jaw repositioning through orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatment can guide jaw growth in growing children. But even in adults, features in the lower third of the face can be reshaped through treatment.
Addressing Aesthetics During Treatment
Let’s take aesthetics one step farther and talk for a minute about orthodontic appliances. There never has been a better time to undergo orthodontic treatment if you’re an adult, thanks to all of the aesthetic options available nowadays. Because the fashion and beauty markets are big in Miami, Invisalign and lingual braces often are requested by adult patients. They want the benefits of orthodontic treatment without the look of traditional metal braces.
They are in luck. We offer Invisalign, which is a system of clear plastic removable aligners that gradually aligns teeth. We also offer treatment with clear and tooth-colored brackets for increased aesthetics. Brackets today are much smaller than those used on previous generations of orthodontic patients. Finally, we offer two systems of lingual braces (brackets that go on the backs of your teeth) – Harmony and 2D lingual brackets. Treatment Harmony takes between 12-24 months because it is used to address a wide range of cases. Treatment with our 2D lingual bracket system takes between three and nine months, since it is only used for minor cases.
Technological advancements have reduced average treatment time, in addition to providing treatment that is less noticeable.
If you’re interested in learning more about how orthodontic treatment can help you age better, please call our office to schedule a consultation. We are happy to explore options with you and develop a treatment plan that will successfully address your unique case.