From crows feet to smile lines, all of us will notice signs of aging in our faces at some point in our lives. But an area of aging that goes a little more unnoticed is our teeth, and New York and Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Victoria Veytsman, DDS says that an aging smile can tack on more years than any other area of the face. Ahead, Dr. Veytsman explains the ins and outs of anti-aging dentistry and how a certain smile makeover can be the answer we’ve been searching for.
What does a smile makeover do?
“My practice focuses exclusively on cosmetic dentistry, and one of our main premier procedures is the smile makeover with porcelain veneers. In a smile makeover, we can broaden the smile, brighten a smile and change the shape of the teeth, and by doing that we can really restore harmony and balance to the entire face and also take years off. A lot of what we do is anti-aging dentistry and dentofacial aesthetics, where we restore harmony to the face just by brightening the smile. When we do porcelain veneers, we do a whole process of smile design, where we look at the smile in context with the entire face.”
How does the smile-design process work?
“The smile design is probably the most important phase of the smile makeover. In this phase, after discussion with the patient about their goals, we can do a mockup of potential changes in the mouth. Then we take impressions of the teeth, we take photos and we get a mockup of the smile with what we call a wax-up—it’s like a blueprint for the smile, and we never start the veneer process without doing this step first. It’s a starting point for the smile because it’s still malleable, and it’s important that patients feel comfortable before we move forward. We use these to make our temporaries so the patient gets to test drive their smile before the permanent veneers are made by our dedicator aesthetic ceramist. It gives the patient a good feel for what their teeth are going to feel like and the serves as a checkpoint along the way in case we want to make any changes. If there are any changes that they want made to the smile, we can absolutely do it then. We try to keep the process as predictable as possible.”
What is the biggest fear patients have when they come in to get veneers?
“A big concern that patients have is that their smile is going to look strange when they’re done. Overall, there’s a lot of fear around dentistry, so we try to reduce that as much as possible. We also try to have as many possible checkpoints as we can to make sure the we, alongside the patient always have control of the case so the outcome is as predictable as possible. By doing the smile design and testing process, we can prevent a lot of these fears.”
What is anti-aging dentistry?
“As we get older, our teeth do too. So it’s not just the skin that loses collagen and volume—the teeth can lose volume in several different dimensions, whether that be horizontally or vertically. When this happens, the face slowly starts to collapse. To fix this, we can rebuild and restore the tooth structure that’s been lost, which restructures the areas of the face that have collapsed.
Also, as people age, their teeth start to chip and stain. When this happens, we can correct all of those things by brightening the teeth and broadening the smile, which also adds more lip and cheek support.
To help anti-age the entire face, we collaborate with plastic surgeons and dermatologists. However, it’s important to work on the smile before the patients visit the other doctors, because this provides a scaffolding for the rest of the face and allows you to be less aggressive with other facial procedures.”
At what age should patients receive a smile makeover?
“We see patients of all ages, starting at age 17 up to age 80. While some of the older patients may talk about anti-aging dentistry, others just want more confidence. There’s such a huge connection between smile makeovers and confidence. Even if we’re talking about someone that’s always been self-conscious about their smile, it doesn’t matter what age you are. Also, when we look at a smile, we don’t really look at the person’s age. We can have a patient that’s between 17 and 20 but their smile looks like someone in their mid-30s or 40s.”
With patients coming in so young, do the veneers last a lifetime?
“Nothing lasts a lifetime, especially in a highly used part of the body and a moist environment with bacteria. If you take really good care of your veneers, the longevity is between 10 to 15 years.”