Billy Crystal’s Fernando Lamas character on Saturday Night Live in the 1980’s taught us “it is better to look good than to feel good.” Clearly, Fernando didn’t know a thing about functional aesthetics.
Functional aesthetics means that you can, in fact, have it all. Your teeth and smile can look and feel good.
Functional aesthetics is a term we use to describe the combination of cosmetic and restorative dental treatments we perform to give patients aesthetically pleasing smiles that also promote optimum oral health. Your teeth must do more than just look good. They need to chew food properly. They promote jawbone health and support your soft tissue. They are meant to work together.
The aesthetic portion of functional aesthetics requires that we take several aspects of your appearance into account as we develop a treatment plan. We must conduct a complete evaluation of your oral cavity and facial structures including expressions, eyes, posture and even the aging process. Considering all these factors enables us to provide treatments that restore proper function to your teeth and jaws while looking natural and aesthetically pleasing.
The functional element of this term compels us to provide restorations that feel and act just like ideal natural teeth.
How do we bring all of these elements together? We often begin by evaluating the relationship between your upper and lower jaw – known as the occlusal relationship – and how all of your teeth come together when performing functions such as biting and chewing. An improper bite can cause all manner of problems. Here are a few examples:
- Severe overbite can force the lower front teeth into the gum area behind the upper front teeth and promote gum recession.
- Crowded teeth can cause the upper and lower teeth to come together improperly when chewing food, which can cause fracture fillings and teeth, muscle tension, and abnormal tooth wear. One aspect of a person’s smile that makes them appear “aged” is anterior tooth wear.
- Missing teeth leave room for neighboring teeth to shift into the vacant space and alter the way the teeth are supposed to come together.
“While aesthetics are important to us when addressing these sorts of problems, function must be equally focused on by dentists,” says Andover, MA native Dr. Zachary Goldman. “If the bite isn’t corrected, the restoration likely won’t last as long as it should.”
Most dentists find that the majority of patients who seek cosmetic improvements to their smiles have some type of occlusal discrepancy, even though they rarely complain of symptoms related to the discrepancy. Functional aesthetics enables us to improve the health of the entire oral cavity, rather than just create a more attractive smile. Our desire is to restore function and prevent the loss of your natural teeth and supporting structures that often are claimed by the aging process, poor oral hygiene and infection.
Please contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about functional aesthetics. We’re certain that if you were to run into Fernando on the street after undergoing treatment in our office he would say, “You look mahvelous, Dahling.”