These days, many people are looking for the fountain of youth in a jar or under a plastic surgeon's scalpel. However, one simple but effective way to take years off an aging face is to correct a vertical dimension problem in the mouth. Here's what you need to know about this issue and how dental crowns and implants can help you look younger.
How Loss of Vertical Dimension Prematurely Ages
Vertical dimension refers to the height of your teeth and the amount of vertical space they take up when you press your back molars together. The loss of some or all of this vertical height often has a negative impact on facial proportions.
This can be seen in people who have lost all of their teeth and who are not wearing dentures. The complete loss of vertical dimension causes the lower half of the face to appear mashed and sunken. In addition to making the person look older, this unfortunate facial collapse can cause lines and wrinkles due to the way the skin folds in and around the mouth.
Even teeth that have only been shortened due to erosion or trauma can throw off your facial proportions. Unfortunately, you may not notice your bite is off until you begin seeing or experiencing the side effects-- such as thinner lips that look squished and a face that appears rounder or sunken in. By that time, the teeth will have typically eroded away so much that dental work is required to restore their form and function.
Causes of Loss of Vertical Dimension
Tooth loss is one primary way vertical dimension is lost. Having all the top and bottom molars extracted will cause your bite to collapse. Even losing a few teeth in those areas can lead to a loss of vertical dimension because the teeth left behind may shift to awkward positions (e.g. tip sideways).
Other causes include mechanical erosion due to aggressive bruxism or acid erosion caused by a reflux disease that forces stomach acids to flow into the mouth and wear away the teeth.
Dental Crowns and Implants Can Save Your Face
Luckily, vertical dimension can be easily restored in a couple of ways. If your condition is caused by the absence of teeth, you can get dental implants or implant-anchored dentures to fill in those empty spaces and return your facial proportions back to normal. The advantage to dental implants over other types of tooth replacement options is they are permanent fixtures in your mouth and will possibly last the rest of your life if properly cared for. However, this option can cost anywhere from $2,400 to $3,000 per tooth or up to $90,000 for a full set of implant-anchored dentures.
If the loss is caused by erosion, then the other option is to have your dentist put in dental crowns that have been specially crafted to replace the lost height. If cemented securely and cared for, dental crowns can also last up to 40 years depending on the type of material used. These dental appliances can cost between $500 and $3,000 per tooth. However, many dental insurance plans will pay for some of the cost of crowns, whereas dental implants generally are not covered.
To learn more about how dental crowns and implants can improve the way you look, contact a dentist, like those at Milan Simanek, D.D.S. & Associates, in your area.Share