The OrthoSmile™ Newsletter

What's New on the Block?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Arresting and Reversing the Pre-Mature Aging of the Face

We now know that aging actually involves all layers of the soft tissue within the face as well as the shrinkage of the bone underneath. Facial aging is actually the result of fat loss and fat descent as well as skin and muscle laxity. Facial aging is caused by the volume loss of fat and soft tissue underneath the skin. Just like when you remove the volume (water) of a grape you are left with a wrinkled raisin. By injecting volume, many wrinkles can be eliminated or at least reduced. Facial soft-tissue augmentation by injection has become increasingly popular as a minimally invasive option for patients seeking cosmetic facial enhancement. (In most states this procedure can be done by the Dentist). Appreciating the necessity of replacing depleted soft tissue has allowed for a more comprehensive approach to total facial rejuvenation. Recent studies have demonstrated that the aging process affects the facial bones. The boney components of the face are important for overall facial three dimensional contours and suspension of the soft tissues. Only the dentist can enhance mid-facial bone volume by remodeling the upper jaw to increase its size and volume. The upper jaw shrinks inward and rotates clockwise or downward as we age. Some studies have shown that palatal expansion results in a counterclockwise rotation of the upper jaw which would be a reversal of the aging process. The maxilla decreases in size - this process creates less available space for the overlying tissue resulting in the inferior displacement of the cheek fat pad and skin, with deepening of the naso-labial fold. Soft tissue fillers are designed to "fill in" facial indentations made by fine lines and wrinkles. They can also add fullness to the lips and cheeks. This process combined with a dental orthopedic, orthodontic removable appliance can provide the ultimate solution to a non-surgical facial enhancement.