In our lives everything is impermanent: you can’t avoid change and like everything else in life your smile will undergo some changes, too. One day you’re looking in the mirror and see a six-year old with a missing front tooth smiling back at you. When you blink the reflection has changed and you’re thinking “I need braces or a whiter smile.” Fast forward to our elderly smiles with their associated chipped, worn or stained teeth. When it comes to smiles and our teeth, change is inevitable. But what exactly causes your teeth to shift and your smile to change?
Just like your eyes, hair and body composition, your smile and teeth are inherited. You may have heard people close to you say you have Aunt Harriet’s smile or Uncle John’s overbite. You can actually inherent your tongue shape, tooth size and tooth dimensions. Most of these are able to be modified nowadays, for instance with orthodontics crooked or misaligned teeth are no longer something you have to live with for the rest of your life. What’s even better is that technology has allowed dental repairs and improvements to be less invasive than ever before.
As we age, our smiles change with us. The constant wear and tear over time causes teeth to shift and wear down. It can actually change the dimensions of our teeth. Sometimes tooth wear over time shows up mostly on the front teeth, but it usually is accompanied by significant wear on the back teeth. This back tooth wear results in the bite collapsing down and is one of the primary reason for skin sagging and wrinkles around our mouths, not to mention an “older” look to our faces. As we bite and chew our way through a lifetime of family meals and wonderful food, our teeth inevitably shift and realign against this constant contact and pressure. Teeth evolved to serve a primate (us) whose lifespan was only 3-4 decades. Now that we all live much longer the trick is to help our teeth last as long as we do! [Read more…]