The “Midlife Crisis” of Our Teeth
As an orthodontist, I witness the increased confidence and happiness of people that comes with a beautiful face and radiant smile. Today, I see an increased awareness among my patients with regard to health. Be it young or elderly, women or men, professional or housewife, everyone agrees that taking care of ourselves, having a proper diet, exercising, smiling, and being happy are important for health.
I suffered my own “midlife crisis” that everyone seems to experience at the age of 35-38. Change is painful, but if one is able to successfully manage change, he or she can develop into a more mature and happier person. Our bodies cannot resist time — it’s the law of nature and we will get older. However, if we understand our limitations in our age and take care of ourselves, we will have the chance to live a longer, more comfortable life.
This article is for readers aged 40 years and over. As we age, what’s going on in our teeth and jawbone? I’ll give you a few tips and some potential problems you might encounter in your teeth after 40 years of age:
- Bone loss and gingival recession. Women (due to menopause), especially, are at an added risk of osteoporosis and associated gingival recession. If you don’t go to the dentist regularly and take care of your teeth, you might not even notice that your gums are pulled.
- Old veneers, fillings and dentures. Twice a year, your doctor should check the condition of various treatments you had previously. The dental treatments you had will generally be effective for about 5 years. As years pass, by you will need to renew your prosthesis and fillings. If you do not renew your dentures, they may lose their fit with your gum edge and fillings may begin to develop broken edges. Ultimately, you may start a process that could even lead to your teeth needing to be pulled.
- “Crowding” of teeth. Some people are lucky and born with pearl-like teeth and never had to wear braces. However, many of the rest of us had to wear braces during our youth. After 40 years, braces or not, teeth start to overlap and deteriorate. As one suffering from crowding, I am now convinced that I need to start wearing braces because now my teeth are not as straight as they used to be. Over the years teeth drift forward, which increases pressure on the front teeth. This causes crowding, especially of the front teeth. With a short-term orthodontic treatment (6 – 8 months), you can achieve same beautiful smile you used to have. If you let years pass, without treatment, your teeth will become even more crowded, which will have a negative impact on your teeth and gum health.
- Impacted wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth bother all of us at some time in our lives. The pain and swelling of wisdom teeth can strike at the most unlikely and inconvenient time. Besides being a continuous source of infection, impacted wisdom teeth also adversely affect the health of adjacent teeth. In particular, the presence of impacted teeth in people with heart disease is extremely risky.
Nothing is permanent in life. Everything is changing and getting old. Make sure that you have healthy teeth by going to your dentist regularly.
Wish you health at every stage of your life!
Take care of yourself.
Dr. Aylin Yalçın