About 75 percent of adults over 65 years of age lose one or more teeth during the aging process. But when tooth loss occurs in adults as young as 30 years old, it may lead to premature aging in the bones and skin of the face. If you have one or more missing molars and want to keep the signs of aging at bay, see your dentist about dental implants. If you don't seek preventative treatment now, you may face these problems below.
Receding Jawline and Chin
Your jawline defines your face and chin by giving them shape and structure. As you age, the bone in the lower jaw loses definition and shape from wear and tear. This natural process starts in your middle years and continues throughout the rest of your lifetime.
Premature tooth loss in the back and sides of the lower half of your mouth can make the problem worse. Your molars and premolars are the largest teeth in your mouth, as well as the teeth you need to break down food. Molars and premolars keep the upper and lower jawbones healthy by stimulating bone cells to reproduce every day. They do this by reacting to the pressure you place on your teeth as they grind down or chew up food. When you lose teeth, the bone cells don't activate in the jaws, which diminishes them over time.
Your lower jaw or mandible no longer looks as sharp and precise as it did before you lost your chewing and grinding teeth. In fact, it may look small and weak from the bone loss. If you rub the pads of your fingertips along your jawline and chin, you may feel small indentations in the bone. These areas represent bone loss or tissue that reabsorbed back into the body. You may also notice subtle changes in your cheekbones in addition to a receding jawline and chin.
Low Cheekbones and Thin Eye Sockets
Your upper jawbone gives your cheekbones definition. When you have healthy bone in your jaw, the cheekbones sit higher in your face. The loss of your upper molars causes the cheekbones to sink in and lose height. The skin over your cheeks sags, which makes your face look droopy in your front and side profiles.
You may not contribute your droopy eyelids and eyebrows to bone loss in your upper jawbone, but they can develop because of it. The bones around your eyes usually begin to shrink or deteriorate around middle-age. When the bones of your eye sockets are thick and strong, the skin in your upper and lower eyelids, as well as eyebrows appear taut, healthy and elastic. You see less wrinkles and loose skin. Losing bone thickness or density in the upper jaw before you reach age 40 can make your eye sockets:
- Look thinner, which makes the skin in the upper and lower eyelids appear loose and flabby
- Sink in, which makes your forehead and eyebrows look larger
- Appear flatter, which makes your nose looker bigger and wider
You can do a few things at home to improve the appearance of your eyelids until you get your new dental implants. For instance:
- Apply moisturizer beneath your lower eyelids, as well as on the upper eyelid nightly
- Massage the eye sockets or bones around your eyes with the pads of your fingertips — be sure to use gentle pressure to avoid injuring the skin on these bones
- Avoid using harsh facial cleansers that may damage the skin cells around your eyes even further
These quick tips may increase blood circulation to the skin of your eyes to help them look better. However, they may not replenish the bone loss in your eye sockets or upper jawbone. Only dental implants can do that. See your dentist immediately for a stress-free consultation to stop the signs of premature aging in your face and jaws.
Getting older is something everyone faces, but you don't have to do so in your thirties. If you're ready to improve the shape, structure and health of your face and jaws, contact your dental provider today for more information.