When it comes to conversations around anti-aging, teeth is typically at the bottom of the list. But your smile has a huge impact on your appearance: from brightness to proportions to space, experts in medical aesthetics place major emphasis on quality dentistry for a reason. Pasha Hakimzadeh DDS and Ben Reyhani DDS are aesthetic dentists and the co-founders of Apa Aesthetic LA and Smile Makers LA. They practice ‘anti-aging dentistry,’ a form of cosmetic dentistry that goes beyond signs of aging on the teeth. “Anti-aging dentistry is an aesthetic change in the lower third of a patient’s face to improve and reverse the signs of aging through veneers,” says Dr. Hakimzadeh. “They can address wrinkles, lip fullness, and cheek support for a more youthful smile and face as a whole.”
Yes, in case you didn’t know, your teeth also age. According to cosmetic dentist Gisella Angarita DDS, discoloration, tooth movement, and loss of tooth length are a few of the most common signs. Oftentimes plastic surgeons work alongside cosmetic dentists in order to optimize results. “When dentists don’t acknowledge the contributions of the soft tissues and surgeons don’t analyze the teeth, the patients tend to get poor and exaggerated outcomes, [trying] to fix too much with the wrong tools,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Ben Talei MD.
What is Anti-Aging Dentistry?
“The objectives of cosmetic dentistry are twofold: to turn back the hands of time by brightening the smile with teeth whitening options and to rebuild the worn conditions of the teeth,” says Dr. Angarita. As Dr. Hakimzadeh points out, patients in search of a smile makeover typically note discoloration, tooth erosion, and tooth grinding as concerns.
Veneers can also have rejuvenating effects on your face. At Apa Aesthetics LA, custom veneers are used to create facial volume; this even allows some patients to skip lip filler by “flipping” the lips outward. “What we do is work from the inside out to design and restore a youthful smile by placing veneers where it helps support your lips, cheeks, and increase volume to the lower third of the face,” says Dr. Reyhani, who notes that patients are surprised by how veneers can fill wrinkles around the eyes. “This removes wrinkles and improves facial aesthetics to reverse the signs of aging without actual surgery.”
Their custom veneers are designed to build up the lower third of the face that collapses over time, providing a lifted appearance. “By building out and widening teeth through veneers, we can improve lip fullness, fullness to the cheeks, eliminate the dark corners when you smile, and smooth out wrinkles in the face, while also giving patients the smiles of their dreams,” says Dr. Hakimzadeh.
Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Ben Talei
Okay, How Exactly Can Dentistry Make Someone Look Younger?
Dr. Talei explains that there are many ways to rejuvenate the lower face, an area that has come under scrutiny recently. “When analyzing facial aging, we look at drooping, volume loss, skin quality changes, shadowing, and muscle function,” he says, explaining that the balance between the bony skeleton (i.e., the teeth and jaws) and the soft tissue skeleton (i.e. skin and soft tissues) is crucial. According to Dr. Talei, their imbalance can result in teeth looking too prominent, create excess shadows on the face, or even result in a downturned appearance.
He is also passionate about quality dentistry and a phenomenon called the tooth show, a technique he has mastered through his work on the surgical lip lift and face lift. He explains that part of what makes the teeth so important is that the eyes and the teeth are the two most prominent areas of brightness in the complexion. “When the mouth fails to show teeth, this makes the person look older; increasing tooth show can substantially help in making a patient look younger.”
What Other Options Are Available?
Not all patients come in seeking veneers; after all, the average cost at Apa Aesthetics LA will set you back between $20,000-$25,000. Plus, they need to be replaced in ten to fifteen years. In these cases, oral hygiene, whitening, orthodontic work, and orthognathic surgery come into play. “What we do in our practice for patients seeking cosmetic treatment is to do what is called facially generated treatment planning,” says Dr. Lawrence Fung, cosmetic dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental. By looking at the teeth and the surrounding structures—the joints, the muscles, the eyes, facial symmetry, etc.—they are able to determine what other specialists will need to be involved.
“We have two ways to whiten teeth,” says Dr. Fung. “One is the traditional in-office method, which works extremely well. But the other way is where we take a digital mold, print your teeth molds with a 3D printer, and create a customized bleaching tray for at-home use.” He notes that the latter option takes place over three-to-four days at night. It’s also gentler yet equally effective. According to Dr. Fung, at-home whitening can be done at your convenience. Plus, the trays can be used to prepare the teeth with a desensitizing agent like potassium nitrate if you suffer from tooth sensitivity.
Composite bonding, which is typically used to repair cracked, chipped, or broken teeth, can also be performed in-office. The procedure also helps to support thinning lip tissue: “As we age, we start to lose muscle tone within our lower third of the face,” says Dr. Fung. “Lips start to droop due to tissue-thinning, so we can commonly replace the thinning lip tissue with an additive procedure on the teeth to restore that lip support.”
The Final Word
The bottom line is, oral hygiene and gum health are important. And if you’re concerned with your appearance as you grow older, dentistry can help with that, too, working to rejuvenate your smile, non-surgically.
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