Rejuvenation of the ageing face and the role of orthodontics: Guidelines for management
Athanasiou, Athanasios E
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Abstract: The article reviews the ageing changes of the midfacial and maxillary bones, the mandible, the overlaying soft tissues and the smile, and presents clinical guidelines aiming to rejuvenate older faces by means of orthodontic therapy. With regard to the ageing changes, the maxillary skeleton appears to rotate clockwise inferior to the orbit and becomes retrusive, and as a general pattern the midface contracts and deteriorates with age. Resorption below the mental foramen, reduction in alveolar height, loss of bone at the chin region, and relative increase in size and shape are signs of an aged mandible. Epidermal thinning and decrease in collagen in combination with the effect of gravity and various external factors contribute to the ageing of the skin. Atrophy of the superficial and deep fat, changes in ligamentous tissues and changes in muscle structure, position and tone, all contribute to the stigmata of the aged face. In the article, two late adulthood orthodontic cases are discussed as examples, and general guidelines for orthodontic management of the older face aiming at reversing the ‘shrinkage’ of the tissues by restoring the facial shape and tightening the soft tissue mask are described. The possible mechanisms explaining the changes observed on the faces of the clinical cases are also discussed. A properly planned and executed orthodontic intervention reversing changes from the inside-out before embarking on cosmetic surgery might have a synergistic effect multiplying the benefits for adult patients.