There are a number of cosmetic dentistry concerns that patients often feel affect their appearance. This can also lead to confidence problems. One of the biggest worries people have about seeing a dentist is that they will need major surgeries to correct these problems. The good news is that seeking invasive treatment is not the only option available now! In this post, we have sat down with a cosmetic dentist. She shared a few of the common concerns that she encounters in her practice. We’ve also outlined some of her top recommendations for non-surgical treatments that she successfully uses to treat these concerns.
The Ageing Smile in Cosmetic Dentistry
The aesthetic age of a patient can often be determined by the number of teeth present and the length and health of the dentition. Dental hygiene is strongly encouraged to minimise risks of decay but also to prevent gum disease. This condition involves the loss of bone holding the teeth in place resulting in mobility or loss of teeth. Smoking is also a very well known causative factor for gum disease. The loss of teeth can result in loss of structural support of the peri-oral tissues i.e. the lips and the skin surrounding them. Thin, static lines can develop as a result of the loss of support and can be further exacerbated by the repetitive action of pursing lips to a cigarette/ e-cigarette or shisha pipe.
Cessation of smoking habits and improved maintenance of your dental health is the first step to prevent further health issues however for immediate effect, hyaluronic acid dermal fillers can be used to increase the volume of the surrounding tissues to stretch the lines until they are reduced or diminished. To prevent exacerbation of the issues, I would always advise addressing the cause of the concerns i.e poor dental health and/or smoking habits.
This concern is caused by a tight upper lip and strong lip muscles that elevate the lip higher than required. Often the patient can have cosmetic concerns, dry and sore gums if the patient is a mouth-breather, or uneven gum margins of the front teeth such that the teeth appear of different lengths.
Gummy smile correction with Botox (Botulinum Toxin Type A) can be used to relax the lip elevator muscles to prevent moderate to severe contraction of the upper lip above the gum margins of the upper front teeth, as a result showing less gum on smiling. This would also hide any uneven gum margins and avoid any expensive and destructive dental treatments. Hyaluronic Acid Dermal fillers can also be used to treat mild gummy smiles by increasing the volume of the upper lip to reduce the exposure of gum tissue.
Jaw Clenching and teeth grinding
Due to the pressures of life, clenching and grinding is a common concern of many clients and is a common problem we see in cosmetic dentistry. As a result, many clients can experience a higher frequency of headaches, pain and discomfort of opening their jaws and wearing down of their teeth. This habit can eventually result in a change in their facial appearance as the masseter muscle, one of the muscles in the face responsible for grinding, can become enlarged and as a result the face can appear square rather than the “upside-down triangle” shape which is often deemed as the ideal face shape.
Custom-made mouth-guards are often the first port-of-call, however, this treatment will only show results if the mouth-guard is worn regularly and can take a long time to bring about any results. For clients in pain, this may not be an option. Botulinum Toxin A (Botox) injections can be used to relax this muscle which can reduce or eliminate the clenching/grinding habit and can also result in a tapering of the face shape towards the chin.
Different sized jaws
Some patients may be concerned with a chin that looks too small when assessing their profile. Alternatively, it may appear that their upper jaw sits too far forward, as a result, their profile shows the lower jaw to be less prominent. Dental treatment for this condition may constitute of Orthodontic treatment (alignment of the teeth with braces) and Orthognathic Surgery to re-align the jaws. This treatment is more common for patients of 18-25 years, however, this approach may not suit the majority of patients.
Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers can be used to “mask” the condition by reducing the prominence of the chin and definition of the lower lip and lower jaw border, thus altering the profile of the patient such that both jaws appear in proportion. This will be a compromised treatment plan so the teeth will not move however the soft tissue profile of the client can appear to be closer to that of ideal.
As with any aesthetic or cosmetic concern, there is never a one-size fits all solution. In cosmetic dentistry, we’ve always found that the best approach is to treat the face as a whole and design treatments tailored to the patient’s concerns, goals, budget and time. Dermal fillers and Botulinum toxin A agents can be used to address many aesthetic symptoms or outcomes of certain concerns if they’re used correctly in the right circumstances. However, remember that as with any aesthetic treatment, it is important that everyone is aware that there is no substitute for looking after yourself. Hence, lifestyle modifications and self-care should always form the basis of any good cosmetic dentistry plan.
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