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Dental Procedure May Help Restore Sagging Faces

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Do you want to look younger and rested, and turn back the clock on your face?

Injectable fillers, lasers and facelift surgery help – but they don't work great on the lower part of the face. But as CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, there is a much simpler way involving something for the teeth.

As a face ages, skin sags. But that is mostly caused by the loss of volume – less fat in the face. People also tend to lose tiny amounts of bone and tooth height, which makes the lower face sag more.

Now, a simple piece of plastic can restore some of that lost facial youth.

To say that Irene Narissi was a sunning beauty in her youth would be an understatement. But the years and gravity have a way of taking their toll.

"My face was starting to look like it was going south," Narissi said. "You know, it was looking tired, and I looked into the mirror one day and… and I said, 'I've got to do it.'"

She got a facelift with Dr. Thomas Romo, which did wonders – but there was something the surgery still did not fix. Romi said Narissi has a loss of height from her bite – her lower teeth aren't even visible.

Fillers would help some, but not sufficiently.

"You can do filler anytime you want to, but the problem is, is that if you have the loss of the architecture, then you're going to tend to overfill," Romo said.

Overfilling is expensive, and as In Touch magazine recently showed, it can lead to what is known as "trout pout."

So how to restore that lower face length, from bottom of nose to tip of chin? That is where dentist Dr. Michael Gelb comes in.

"This is something that goes inside the patient's mouth and raises up the patient's own teeth, so it's the patient's own anatomy," Gelb said. "It just gives the patient more height."

The process, called JuvaBite, starts with precise 3D scans of the patient's teeth, which get milled into a clear bite plate that goes over the lower teeth.

Kristin Mackie showed CBS2 how much JuvaBite lengthens her lower face. Dr. Gelb measured the distance as a full quarter inch.

"I love it," Mackie said. "It's made my lips look less pouty, so it's opened my jaw."

Once the jaw is in a more youthful position, Dr. Romo can then add just the right amount of filler to achieve the desired natural look.

Narissi was immensely pleased with JuvaBite.

"You get used to it," she said. "After a couple of days, you know, I got used to it, and now I'm wearing it all time and I don't even know I have it in."

So what about cost? The JuvaBite system includes the evaluation of how much added height you need, the 3D measurement, the milled bite plate, and up to two syringes of filler – which are expensive all by themselves. The total cost is just under $4,000.

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