The Aging Process

From the time a baby is born the body goes through a development and maturing process. Bone is living tissue and is constantly modifying as the needs are. In the jaw bone the tooth buds for the 20 baby teeth and up to 32 adult teeth develop and grow.

The jaw bone grows. The development of jaw bone is downward, outward and forward. The baby teeth start erupting around 6 months of age 2 all baby teeth erupt. Individual variations may be present, female’s growth is faster.

Adult teeth erupt from age 6 thru 12. The baby teeth root get resorbed, baby teeth loosen and fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. Generally wisdom teeth (3rd molars) erupt from age 18 to 25.

During this phase the face and jaw bones develop and mature to adulthood. A young adult in their 20’s has a well-developed skeleton and skull. Jaw bones have clean lines and perfect teeth. Facial bone is smooth, hard and dense. Bone is living tissue. As a person ages by middle age, the bone texture changes, it gets rougher. The eye sockets shrink. The lower part of the eye socket droops and the jaw recede. It’s a slow continuous process. The cheek bones also droop. Hence the eyes appear hollow and deep set. The lower eyelid droops due to lack of bone support. The jaw bones become thinner and the chin recedes.

Aging is a slow natural process. All the above observations are based on research done using 3 dimensional CT scans over a period of years.

The best way to slow down this process is by hanging on to your teeth. If teeth are lost due to gum disease (bone loss) or cavities or accidents, the lower 1/3rd of the face changes drastically. Teeth are lost, jaw bone shrinks, the upper and lower lips collapse inwards, the chin bone recedes and you get the aged look.

The best advice is to keep your teeth. See you’re Dentist and Hygienist regularly every 6 months for exam, x-rays, cleaning and hang on to your teeth and jaw bones that support your lips and facial profile.

Keep on smiling.


By Dr. Jeff Elahi DDS, MS (Prosthodontist)