Do you feel embarrassed about your smile because of gaps between your teeth? A tooth gap might seem like a minor dental problem. But this cosmetic issue can cause someone to feel self-conscious or shy when talking to other people.
Tooth gaps are pretty common. The good news is that a variety of cosmetic dental treatments are available to close the gap and improve the overall appearance of your smile. Many of these dental treatments are non-invasive and straightforward. As a result, many patients can create a smile that they love without undergoing major dental work.
Overview: Tooth Gap Treatments
Modern dentistry offers multiple options for closing a tooth gap. The specific treatment depends on the size of the gap and the patients’ goals. For example, is this treatment for cosmetic reasons only. Or, are you also seeking functional benefits as well?
The main methods dentists use to close a tooth gap include:
- Dental bonding
- Porcelain or composite veneers
Continue reading to learn more about each of these treatments so you can find the optimal method to improve your smile.
Treatment #1: Orthodontics (Braces)
When a patient has large spaces between the teeth, then braces offer the best solution to realign the bite. Not only can you close the tooth gap with orthodontics, but this treatment is also helpful for addressing other common concerns.
Braces are often used, with wires and brackets that attach to the surface of the teeth. The tension of these orthodontic treatments will gently move the teeth into the desired position over time.
Depending on the severity of the tooth gap, Invisalign might be an alternative orthodontic option. Invisalign can be effective for mild or moderate misalignment. However, a large tooth gap usually requires traditional braces.
Sometimes, braces are effective as a standalone treatment. Most patients need to wear the braces for 12 – 18 months to achieve the ideal results. Other times, dentists recommend pairing braces with other treatments, such as veneers or dental bonding.
Treatment #2: Dental Bonding
The great news is that dental bonding offers immediate results and no recovery time after the treatment. This procedure involves molding composite materials to the existing teeth with the goal of filling in the tooth gap. One or more teeth might require treatment, depending on your overall goals.
Dental bonding is a popular choice when teeth are damaged due to decay, chipping, or injury. The bonding materials repair the damaged tooth, creating a natural appearance when the treatment is finished.
Additionally, dental bonding can be strictly for cosmetic reasons. The dentist can change the size and shape of a tooth by applying bonding material to reform the tooth’s overall appearance. Not only do you have the option to fill in a tooth gap, but bonding can also help address other cosmetic issues, such as discoloration, spotting, chipping, and more.
Dental bonding works with a light-emitting tool that hardens the unique bonding materials. It’s a fast and non-invasive method that creates the instant results you desire.
Treatment #3: Porcelain or Composite Veneers
A third method to consider if you want to fill in a tooth gap is to invest in dental veneers. This cosmetic treatment is effective for smaller to average size gaps, providing excellent cosmetic outcomes for patients who want to upgrade their smiles.
This dental treatment uses porcelain or ceramic shells that are custom-fit to the size and shape of each tooth. The dentist prepares the tooth, then places the veneer over the tooth. Since you are covering the visible surface of each tooth, it covers a variety of imperfections.
If you want to fix a tooth gap, then talk to your dentist about whether you are a good candidate for dental veneers. Various treatments are available, including both composite or porcelain materials.
Addressing the Root Cause: Why Do You Have a Tooth Gap?
Gaps can occur between any two teeth, although they are most common between the two upper front teeth. So, in addition to creating a cosmetic dental plan to close the gap, it’s just as important to identify the underlying cause.
Our dental team performs a complete exam to identify any other required treatments. Not only are we focusing on immediate results to close your tooth gap. But we also want to prevent other cosmetic issues from happening in the future.
Common causes of tooth gaps include:
- Mismatch of Teeth and Jaw Bones: The teeth might be too small or too big compared to the size of the jawbones. As a result, it can cause tooth gaps if there is extra space or overcrowding if there isn’t enough space.
- Missing Teeth: When a tooth gap is caused by one or more missing teeth, then it’s important to talk to a dentist about restoration options. Moving the teeth to fill in the gap could result in other teeth shifting. Instead, we can talk about long-term solutions, such as dental bridges or dental implants.
- Bad Habits: Sometimes, lifestyle habits affect the positioning of the teeth. For example, if a child is sucking their thumb regularly, it can shift the alignment of the teeth and cause gaps to occur. The dental team will talk to the parents about solutions to stop this habit and prevent more issues in the future.
- Tongue Thrust: The way the tongue moves in the mouth can put pressure on the teeth and cause them to move. People with a tongue thrust sometimes experience tooth gaps because the tongue pushes against the front teeth. Over time, it causes the teeth to move, which results in the formation of tooth gaps.
- Gum Disease: The presence of an infection in the mouth can cause the gums to recede and weaken. Over time, untreated infections cause the teeth to loosen because they don’t have a strong foundation due to bone loss and gum loss.
Talk to Our Dental Team About Your Treatment Plan
Whether you want to fill in a tooth gap or are ready to invest in a smile makeover, our team is here to help. You can learn more about available treatments by talking to us at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas.