Don’t Let Your Teeth Give Your Age Away (Part 2)

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Age Giveway 3 Late-onset crowding

Patients in their 40s often complain that their bottom teeth are crowding, even if they’ve been straight all their lives. This can be because the lip muscle shortens, causing the arch of the bottom teeth to narrow, leaving teeth more bunched up, or the loss of back teeth or because teeth can move forward with age.

Description: children should take care of their teeth

Solution A permanent retainer is a strip of wire that can be bonded behind the lower incisors to stop further movement. But to make teeth straight again, you’ll need a brace. There are many new options on offer. For minimal crowding on the bottom teeth, the new custom-fitted, removable aligners such as Inman Aligner, ClearStep and Invisalign are clear and work like a brace in six to 11 months, but teeth may re-crowd again and you might need to wear one at night indefinitely. For severely crooked or rotating teeth, Incognito is a system of new orthodontics consisting of super-thin, gold-cast braces that are fitted behind teeth to straighten them in between nine and 18 months.

COST Permanent retainers start from $390; from $1,950 for aligners (inmanaligner.com. clearstep.co.uk, invisalign.co.uk), and $11,050 for gold-cast braces (hiddenbraces.co.uk)

Age Giveway 4 Gum recession


Description: Regularly you take care to stay well so you must do the same with your teeth

Regularly you take care to stay well so you must do the same with your teeth

Between 35 and 44, 80 per cent of us show signs of gum disease, which increases with age and is made worse by smoking and stress. Left unchecked, it causes receding gums, which can often show up in your forties. Telltale early signs are bleeding during brushing, gum abscesses, dark gaps at the sides of teeth and tooth loosening. Receding gums can also be caused by years of overenthusiastic brushing.

Solution Your “periodontal pockets” are the depth between each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue and indicate how quickly gum tissue is wearing. If you’re high risk, hygiene treatments every three months may help. For inflamed gum disease, your dentist may recommend a topical chlorhexidine gel or mouthwash (eg Corsodyl). Forget gimmicky toothbrushes and opt for a small, flat head used in tidy, circular motions of the fingers and wrist. Severe cases can be helped with surgical and regeneration techniques by a gum specialist (a periodontist). If it’s minor – less than 4mm between the top of tooth and the gum – the gap can be closed by bonding (see left). Find a gum specialist in your area through the General Dental Council’s specialist register at gdc-uk.org.

COST From $260 per tooth for surgery and $125 to $325 for bonding.

Age Giveway 5 Smile narrowing

From our late twenties, the upper jaw and teeth can move inwards towards the tongue, or the cheeks can hollow, leaving a shadow at the sides of the mouth, making your smile look narrower.

But most celebrities show no sign of this, probably thanks to subtle dental work. Narrow-looking smiles can also be caused by large, old amalgam fillings that show through enamel, leaving a shadow-like effect at the sides of your smile.

Solution Smile widening is one of the most effective ways of refreshing your smile. It can be done by applying bonding over the side teeth and building this up slightly thicker at the edges of the mouth. This can be mocked up on the patient to see what the results will be. Removing old amalgam fillings by drilling can upset the teeth, so I prefer to apply white bonding over the area. If the teeth are worn down, a thicker crown can be placed at the side teeth to widen the smile.

COST Bonding costs from $125 to $325 per tooth; crowns from $645 per tooth.

Dr Syron can be contacted at Millbank Dental Care, Call (022) 7828 7676; dentistsw1.co.uk w&h

Kerry Davies, 44, is a hospital receptionist who lives in Market Harborough with her husband Anthony and two daughters. She had bleaching and bonding treatment with Dr Syron in summer 2011.


Description: My new smile has taken five years off me

“My new smile has taken five years off me”

“For most of my adult life I never smiled with my teeth. They were uneven, chipped and yellow. I had tried home whitening treatments, but nothing worked. I had a dentist phobia, though, so I loved the idea that bonding and bleaching were pain-free. I had three bleaching sessions and was sent home after each one with whitening trays. At the end, the teeth had lightened three shades. The next stage was the bonding, which took three hours in Martina’s chair. It really was pain free – no injections or drills. It cost about $3,250 but it has taken five years off me and the boots it has given my confidence is priceless”

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