Shrinking in height as you get older isn't a myth, and in fact, people can lose anything from half a centimetre to one centimetre of height per decade after the age of 40, and this process actually speeds up after the age of 70. While you might lose height, surely there are some parts of your body that are immune to shrinking. What about your teeth? It's actually possible for your teeth to reduce in height, although this isn't necessarily a result of aging.
Vertical Bite Dimension
Bite reclamation is a fairly common procedure offered at cosmetic dental clinics. The process restores a person's vertical bite dimension, which is a clinical way of saying that your teeth are returned to their former height. But what can cause your teeth to shrink? And how bad would such a thing be anyway?
It's not as though your teeth simply reduce in height, while also remaining fully intact. Teeth can lose their vertical dimension through general wear and tear, although there are a number of conditions which can accelerate the process, such as bulimia, acid reflux or any condition which can result in a substantial amount of stomach acid coming into regular contact with your teeth. Your teeth are simply wearing away, gradually losing height as the enamel and then the dentin corrodes, sometimes leading to the exposure of the pulp (nerve) inside the tooth.
This loss of vertical dimension can be uncomfortable, and it can also slowly change the very look of your face. When your mouth is closed, your teeth are pressed against their opposite counterparts, and this is simply the natural setting of your jaw. When your teeth lose their height, your upper and lower jaw must move closer to each other. This can make your face appear to sag and can promote wrinkles. As your jaw is forced to reposition itself, you could also become affected by temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) caused by the unnatural realignment of the joints in question, as they compensate for the reduced vertical dimension of your teeth. TMD can feel as though your jaw is constantly under strain and can be rather uncomfortable.
Reclaiming Your Bite
If your teeth have lost height to the extent that bite reclamation is warranted, your dentist simply rebuilds the teeth using a dental composite resin, which is sculpted into place and then hardened, essentially recreating the original shape of the tooth. This effectively returns your teeth to their former height, and any commensurate symptoms (such as difficulty when chewing, discomfort or even TMD) should fade away.
If your teeth have lost their original height, it's time to talk to a dentist about reclaiming your bite.Share
15 July 2019
Miranda Raff here. My brother is a stressed-out dental student, so I'm starting this blog on his behalf. I work in a travel agency and my brother is mortified by the number of dental tourism stories I bring home. I book short holidays for people who seem as though they are going to enjoy some relaxation in an exotic country, only to learn that they plan to have cheap dental procedures. Whilst there are good dentists in developing countries, according to my brother, the complex procedures these people plan to have simply can't be finished in such a limited time. This blog is an attempt to inform you about the high skill levels and advanced technology found in Australian dental surgeries. New techniques are being developed every year and Australian dentists are at the forefront of offering these solutions. I really hope this blog helps you to appreciate our dentists.