Treatment for Gapped Teeth
If you're unhappy with the appearance of gaps between your teeth, dental treatment may be right for you. Cosmetic dentistry treatments can improve the smile's appearance by addressing dental flaws and closing gaps between the teeth. Learn more about treatment for gapped teeth in this overview from Virginia, VA dentists Scott Parr and Tara Frey.
Causes of Gaps Between Teeth
Treating gapped teeth begins with determining the cause. A gap between the teeth, also called a diastema, can form over time or be genetic.
Some people develop gaps between their teeth as a result of a discrepancy between the size of the teeth in relation to the size of the jawbone. Generally, this means the teeth are undersized and don't adequately fill the jawbone, leading to gaps between teeth.
A gap between the upper front teeth may be caused by an enlarged labial frenum. The labial frenum is the tissue that connects the lip to the gums. When this tissue is oversized, it may run down the gums and between the two upper front teeth, resulting in a large gap.
Some gaps develop over time as a result of problems with the swallowing reflex. Those who have the swallowing reflex disorder tongue thrust may notice gaps forming between their upper teeth. This is because tongue thrust pushes the tongue forward and into the teeth when swallowing instead of into the upper palate of the mouth. The regular pressure of the tongue on the upper teeth can gradually cause gaps to form.
Missing teeth can also cause gaps to develop over time. Of course, gaps will exist where any teeth are missing, but gaps may also form between the remaining teeth because tooth loss can lead to jawbone degeneration, causing the remaining teeth to shift.
Treatments for Closing Gaps between Teeth
Once the cause of gapped teeth is pinpointed, the appropriate treatment can be determined. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to correct the appearance of gapped teeth and improve the aesthetics of the smile. In some cases, treatments may be combined to correct the overall appearance of the smile. Some popular treatments for closing gaps between the teeth include:
- Dental bonding: Dental bonding treatment can address gaps between the teeth, along with other dental flaws, using a tooth-colored, putty-like resin. This resin is shaped directly on the teeth to design a beautiful, flawless smile.
- Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers treatment involves the use of thin, tooth-shaped, porcelain fabrications to adjust the shape and size of the teeth, closing gaps and improving the overall aesthetics of the smile.
- Invisalign®: Invisalign® is a discreet orthodontic treatment that can close gaps between teeth as well as correct the appearance of crooked, uneven teeth. Patients undergoing Invisalign® treatment wear a series of clear trays to gradually realign the teeth for a beautifully straight smile.
- Traditional orthodontics: Patients with severe gaps and alignment issues may be best served by traditional orthodontics. Traditional orthodontics gradually repositions the teeth using a bracket and wire system, creating a gorgeous smile for even the most problematic gaps and alignment issues.
- Dental implants: Gaps caused by missing teeth can be treated by replacing lost teeth. Dental implant treatment offers permanent replacement of missing teeth, helping to protect the remaining teeth from shifting, while also restoring dental function.
- Frenectomy: Patients with an enlarged labial frenum may require a frenectomy to reduce the size of the labial frenum and enhance the effectiveness of treatment.
Schedule a Consultation
To find out which treatment is right for you, or for more information about treatment for gapped teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at The Smile Center.