Why do teeth shift as we age?
Looking at your smile in the mirror and wondering “Did it always looks like that?” If you’re over the age of 50, the answer is probably “no.” You may notice that your teeth look a little more crowded in the front, or that your once-straight teeth now have a bit of a lean. Just like aging changes the rest of the body, it changes our smile, as well.
Genetic predisposition to a changing smile
As we age, our lower jaw loses its youthful definition and tends to grow forward, elongating the face. Oddly, this does not cause all 80-year-olds to have strong, pronounced chins. Instead, the angle at which the jaw sits increases, so the entire face is elongated. At the same time, the teeth of the lower jaw tend to crowd forward, causing noticeably crooked and crowded teeth in the front of the lower jaw.
Changes in bone density can also affect the shape of the jaw, and therefore, the position of the teeth. As we age, our bones become less dense and may weaken, which can allow the teeth anchored in our jawbone to slowly migrate out of place.
Lifestyle factors that can cause shifting teeth
Even if you’re genetically predisposed to having strong bones, your lifestyle choices, habits and behaviors over a lifetime can also impact the way your teeth look as you age.
For example, tooth grinding puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth, ultimately wearing the teeth not only on the biting surfaces, but at the spots where the teeth rub together. This excessive wear can change the shape of the teeth and allow them to shoot around each other.
Can I regain my youthful smile?
Yes! You don’t have to just accept a shifting smile as a consequence of aging. You can regain the gorgeous, straight smile you enjoyed in your youth. That’s right – it’s time to get braces, again!
If you had braces as a child, you probably expected them to keep your teeth straight all your life. But alas, the powers of aging are strong! Even the best orthodontic care as a child can’t keep the forces of age at bay forever.
The first thing to do if you want to get braces to straighten (or re-straighten) your teeth in middle or old age is to be seen by an orthodontist who can asses whether or not you’re a candidate for adult braces. Certain conditions, such as significant bone loss or gum disease, need to be addressed before you can get braces.
Choices for adult braces
If you don’t feel like looking like a high schooler at 65, don’t worry. You’ve got options when it comes to adult braces. You can choose from clear aligners like Invisalign, as well as lingual braces that sit on the back of your teeth, or low-visibility braces that are made from clear or tooth-colored material. The most popular option for adult braces is the clear aligners, as they’re basically invisible and removable – so there are no dietary restrictions when straightening your teeth with clear aligners!
Is it time to get adult braces?
Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists helps adults all over Atlanta, including College Park, Howell Mill, Virginia Highlands, Sandy Springs and Buckhead, get braces that allow them to feel comfortable in their smiles! Contact us today to set up your initial adult braces consultation.