A healthy smile you’re confident in should be a top priority. With teeth gaps, it’s not uncommon to be self-conscious about your smile. While some people embrace the gaps in their teeth, others would prefer to close them up.
There are a few reasons why you may have teeth gaps and different kinds of gaps you may have. But luckily, there are also plenty of treatments for how to fix teeth gaps.
Learn about the options to have the healthy, straight, gap-less smile of your dreams.
Types of Teeth Gaps
When most people think of teeth gaps, they think of a space between the two front teeth. Medically, this is called a midline or median diastema, and this location is the most common.
Diastema is the medical term for a gap between teeth. While the two front teeth may be the most common, gaps can occur throughout the mouth. Mandibular diastema is a gap in the lower teeth.
Gaps in the teeth can be hereditary or due to dental issues. Where the gap is located, how wide, and how many will determine the treatment to close those gaps.
What Causes Gaps in Teeth
For young children, gaps in teeth are fairly common, particularly when they have their baby teeth. Because there’s a chance the gap will correct itself when adult teeth grow in, most experts don’t recommend braces for young kids.
However, if there’s still a gap when adult teeth grow in, there could be a number of courses.
A difference between teeth and jaw size is one of the most common causes of gaps in teeth. Teeth that are too small or misaligned are often the reason. These factors are often genetic, making this type of diastema hereditary.
Thumb sucking in childhood and incorrect swallowing reflexes can both push against the front teeth and make them separate.
More serious conditions, such as peg lateral and gum disease, can also cause gaps in teeth. Peg lateral is a developmental defect where the lateral incisors are too small and create gaps between the front teeth.
Periodontitis, also called gum disease, can lead to tooth loss, which, of course, can create space between teeth where teeth have fallen out or were removed.
Why Close the Gap?
In most cases, people choose to close their teeth gaps for cosmetic reasons. They may feel more confident with a smile that has no gaps in the teeth. When they’re cosmetic, it’s not necessary to close gaps for medical or health reasons.
But if you have gaps in the back teeth, many dentists may recommend closing the gaps. That’s because wider gaps, especially in the back of the mouth, can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria from trapped food.
The plaque and bacteria buildup, if not addressed, can lead to serious oral health issues like tooth decay and bone loss. It’s important to clean these areas thoroughly with floss and through regular brushing.
However, if you have trouble reaching far back or don’t get a good cleaning, it may be a good idea to close those gaps to protect your oral health.
Teeth Gap Treatment Options
There are a few treatment options for closing teeth gaps. Which one is best for you depends on where the gap is located, how large the gap is, and the reason for the gap.
A dentist or an orthodontist will determine which treatment is best and any other treatments you may need to address your oral health.
Veneers are typically made of porcelain and are customized to the wearer. They’re bonded to the front of the teeth and give the appearance of natural enamel.
Adding veneers also requires removing some of the enamel from the front of the teeth. Because of the way they’re bonded, veneers are a permanent treatment.
To close gaps, an oversized veneer will be placed on the two neighboring teeth to the veneer. But, because of the way it’s installed, the gap looking to be closed has to be small, or else this method won’t look natural.
Veneers are also best used in the front portion of the mouth rather than addressing gaps in the back of the mouth.
Another method of closing gaps is dental bonding, which uses a material similar to the one that is used to close fillings from cavities. The method of closing the gap with dental bonding is similar to veneers.
The bonding material is placed in the gap, connected to the two neighboring teeth. Many patients prefer this method because it doesn’t require anesthesia or prep work.
It’s a quick procedure that often takes less than an hour per tooth to complete. However, dental bonding can last between five and ten years, making it less strong and less permanent than veneers.
Dental implants are used in more severe cases when a gap in teeth is due to a tooth being removed because of damage. Implants are permanent solutions where a device is installed in the gums and a cap is added on top.
Implants are used when a tooth isn’t salvageable and the goal is to help preserve the remaining jawbone and reduce additional tooth loss. However, dental implants are not typically the solution for common diastema.
Braces and Invisalign
Orthodontic work is the more common method of addressing gaps in teeth. Both braces and Invisalign guide the teeth into alignment by applying gentle pressure over time.
For those who have larger gaps in their teeth, braces are the best option. Smaller gaps can typically be addressed with Invisalign or another clear aligner method.
The type of braces you get depends on an orthodontist’s recommendation and cosmetic factors. Clear ceramic braces and lingual braces are less noticeable options than standard metal braces.
Your Most Confident Smile
You shouldn’t be afraid to flash your smile. But if you have teeth gaps, you may be nervous about smiling your pearly whites. Gaps in your teeth can affect your confidence and your oral health.
Luckily, whether you want to close a gap for oral or cosmetic reasons, there are plenty of treatment options. Talking to an orthodontist can help you decide which treatment is the best one for you.
Ready to improve your smile? Find the nearest office and contact us to make an appointment with our orthodontists today!