Ask the Dentist: Should I get my teeth removed to change my face shape?
Keeping our teeth for as long as possible supports our jaw and facial bones into later life, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care
THE quest for the latest fashionable face shape isn't a new thing.
In the 18th century women were hailed as beauties if they happened to be the owner of an oval face with a dimpled chin.
With the advent of the movies, the stars deemed most handsome often had strong, square jaws.
Now the latest craze is to have a slender face, with people going to incredible lengths, like Madonna, to achieve the slimmed down look.
Some people have taken to having a small incision made inside their cheeks to pull out their cheek fat pads to create a permanent 'just sucked a straw' expression; others sacrifice their back teeth in an attempt to get rid of a rounded face.
But will our natural ageing process make these types of procedures appear rash?
Our face is continually changing throughout our lives. It's not only the collagen in the skin that loses its elasticity that contributes to ageing.
We lose a thimble full of face fat and bone every year from our visages after the age of 25 years.
Our face bones actually change shape with the bones around our eyes widening leaving us more sunken and baggier looking. Our noses elongate and fatten, and our lower jaw shortens.
The upper jaw is extremely vulnerable to bone shrinkage which flattens our face, and with all these changes we end up appearing more 'witchy' as the years fly by.
If over time we also lose front or back teeth the bone dissolving process is magnified.
All these skeletal adjustments reduce the bony scaffolding that our skin once enjoyed leaving us wrinkly and droopy.
So it's likely that we would benefit from keeping our cheek fat pads as we age, as they give stuffing to our faces avoiding too sunken a face.
By keeping our teeth as long as sensibly possible and replacing any teeth that have had their day, we can help to support not only our jaw bones but also our facial bones as well.
And for those who want to, facial fillers and the collagen enhancer injections that are becoming more mainstream are also great at keeping the ageing dogs at bay.