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Straight Teeth Talk: New procedure offers dental facelift

By Victoria Advocate
May 31, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 2, 2011 at 1:02 a.m.

Denture patient before procedure.

By Mac Lee"Hi, Dr. Lee, I'll get right to the point. I don't want people to know I have dentures. I want to have a full smile. I want my teeth to show. I want to wear lipstick on my lips and not my teeth. I want fewer wrinkles around my mouth. I think my nose and chin are closer together now that I wear dentures. Surely, with today's dental technology, I should look better and eat better than this."

In order for people like Mrs. Jones to understand these problems and solutions, I will start with the airplane analogy. In previous articles (which can be viewed at www.drmaclee.com), I have compared the jaw to an airplane landing tail first or nose first.

Look at the before picture. The upper jaw and teeth are like a plane coming in tail first, with the nose of the plane, or in this case the upper front teeth, so high, they are hidden by the lips. Not only does it not look right, this uneven landing creates an unstable bite.

In the after picture, the plane, or upper jaw, is making a smooth straight landing, coming down so that it is parallel to the ground. The end result is a better looking and more stable bite.

The after photo makes it very apparent that the teeth have to sit in the right place for the face and smile to look natural and youthful. Nature designed it this way and it is the job of the dentist and the denture to mimic Mother Nature. The only difference between the before and after photos is the after photo is an example of the new Facelift Dentures procedure.

It is important to know that dentures do more than show teeth. They actually replace the lower one third of the face. When people lose all of their teeth, they lose bone too. The teeth and bones fill in the cheeks and lips. If a denture is made too small, and many are, they simply do not fill in all the areas where the teeth and bones were, and it gives the face a hollow appearance, instead of a full, youthful look.

The upper and lower teeth also determine the distance people have between their nose and chin. When teeth are lost, there is nothing stopping the jaw when it closes so the chin comes too close to the nose making it obvious the person is toothless. It also juts the jaw forward like a bulldog. A denture that is too small or too short creates this same kind of look.

Jones ended the conversation with, "Being toothless and having to replace them with a denture, something that is plastic, is very emotional. I think I deserve a youthful smile and to be able to enjoy my favorite past times, eating and laughing."

I couldn't agree more, and it is the job of the dentist, working together with the patient, that will ultimately make this happen. To learn more about the new Facelift Denture procedure or to talk about any of your dental needs just give me a call.

Dr. Mac Lee practices dentistry in Edna. His website, www.drmaclee.com is dedicated to sharing common sense dental education for the public. If you have dental questions, please visit the site or call him at 361-782-7191.

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