Like it or not, the ageing process begins much earlier than we think, from as early as our twenties, and the effects are usually most visible on our faces. For most of us, wrinkles, drooping eyelids, and a loss of skin elasticity are the signs of getting older, and wiser. However, other less noticeable changes happening beneath the surface also greatly impact the overall look and feel of our faces. Dr Sheryl Smithies, a Cape Town based aesthetic dental surgeon and facial aesthetic practitioner, sheds some light on various options available on the market to help combat facial ageing.
Fixing your jaw will fix your face
One often overlooked aspect of facial ageing is the gradual decrease in the size of the jawbone, which leads to the shifting of teeth to accommodate the diminishing space in our mouths. Over the years, this can result in teeth becoming crooked and misaligned, affecting the overall harmony of the face.
Added to this is the gradual wearing down of the surface of our teeth due to natural wear and tear caused by eating, grinding, and clenching. This causes our teeth to become shorter, chipped, and worn. Not a good look at any age!
Dr Sheryl Smithies explains that rejuvenating teeth bonding, or veneers, can effectively rebuild the worn-off areas of teeth, restoring their youthful appearance. And by adding a tooth whitening treatment, your smile can be elevated to a level that is both appealing and brighter.
“With advancements in technology, treatments like this can be entirely non-invasive, bonding directly to the natural tooth structure without causing any damage,” she says.
Dr Smithies emphasises that these dental issues can contribute to older faces appearing miserable, tired, sad, or unhappy, conveying a range of negative emotions that do not reflect an individual’s true feelings. Genetics, along with factors like sun exposure, smoking, diet, exercise, and stress, can also negatively affect the rate at which we age.
It’s never too late to align your teeth.
To prevent a sagging and older-looking face, Dr Sheryl Smithies advises individuals to consider clear aligner therapy as a preventive measure.
“By aligning teeth at various intervals throughout your life, you can maintain the proper positioning of teeth within the face and potentially reverse the ageing process on the bone structure, promoting better quality bones and teeth. It can also improve a changing smile by reversing the effects of ageing and placing the teeth in a more youthful position,” explains Dr Smithies.
It’s important to note that aligners do not weaken the strength of teeth. When planned correctly, they can position teeth in a way that prevents damage from a crowded bite, and the discreet nature of aligners makes them the least noticeable orthodontic option.
“While minor discomfort may be experienced during the initial three days and whenever aligners are changed, it can typically be alleviated with over-the-counter painkillers,” adds Dr Smithies, who suggests considering anti-ageing dental alignments at any age, especially if teeth are shifting or in a narrowed or crowded position.
Don’t discount other options
In addition to teeth alignment, there are other options available to reduce the effects of facial ageing, such as face sculpting with fillers. This technique helps restore lost facial volume, providing subtle and tasteful results that go unnoticed.
The use of threads and other biostimulators has also gained popularity in retro-ageing treatments. These products stimulate the body’s collagen production, conditioning and supporting ageing skin.
Consistent use can lead to thicker and stronger skin, effectively reversing the ageing process. Threads also have the added benefit of lifting sagging skin and promoting the growth of larger collagen threads beneath the skin.
Finally, don’t be too late to the party
Neglecting dental and facial care as we age can lead to severe issues such as tooth crowding, difficulty maintaining oral hygiene, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) damage, tooth decay, and gum disease. Dr Sheryl Smithies advises individuals to have their dentist assess the position of their teeth as they grow older.
Lastly, Dr Smithies warns that allowing the natural ageing process to proceed without intervention can reach a point where it becomes challenging to reverse the effects with less invasive treatments.
“To maintain one’s appearance as much as possible, it is crucial to take proactive steps before it becomes too late to achieve desirable results easily,” she concludes.
As an aesthetic dental surgeon and facial aesthetic practitioner, Dr Sheryl Smithies believes that understanding the frame of your face and smile – is the keystone to your personal beauty.
Dr Smithies started her professional life at the University of Pretoria where she graduated with a bachelor’s in dental surgery where she helped underprivileged communities in Mkuze as part of the Community Service programme.
She then continued to study and learn more about many fields of aesthetic medicine including implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, digital dentistry, root treatments and minimally invasive dermatological procedures including botulinum toxin, facial threads and fillers. Her studies have left her skilled and with the ability to treat patients holistically, using minimally invasive techniques, to give them the best smile to enhance their natural beauty.
Her excellent bedside manner allows her to connect with each of her patients on both a professional and personal level and her intense dedication to her profession ensures that her patients receive the highest quality care.