Closing the Gap: Treatment for Gapped Teeth
If gapped teeth are making you unhappy with the appearance of your smile, you may wish to undergo dental treatment. Cosmetic dentistry treatments can dramatically improve the smile's appearance by closing gaps between teeth and addressing other dental flaws. To discuss which treatment for gapped teeth is right for your needs, schedule a consultation with Fountain Valley, CA dentist Andrew G. Mortensen. In the meantime, learn more about treatments for gapped teeth in this overview.
Underlying Causes of Gapped Teeth
You may wonder if gaps between the teeth, also known as a diastema, poses a threat to oral health. Naturally occurring diastemas generally don't pose a threat to oral health, however, a diastema that occurs due to tooth loss or problems with the swallowing reflex can lead to other problems. This makes it important to understand the underlying cause of gapped teeth in order to determine the proper treatment. Some causes include:
- Undersized teeth: Gaps may form between the teeth when the teeth are too small in relation to the size of the jaw.
- Large labial frenum: The tissue that connects the upper lip to the gums is call the labial frenum. In some people, the labial frenum may be large enough to reach between the two upper front teeth, creating a gap between the teeth.
- Tongue thrust: Tongue thrust, a disorder with the swallowing reflex, can cause gaps to develop between the teeth if left untreated. With tongue thrust, the tongue pushes into the upper teeth when swallowing, instead of into the roof of the mouth. This regular pressure can cause gaps to form between the upper teeth.
- Missing teeth: Missing teeth can create gaps not only at the site of tooth loss but also between the remaining teeth. Once teeth are lost, the remaining teeth may shift over time, leading to gaps.
Treatment Options for Gapped Teeth
Treating gaps between the teeth can improve aesthetics, and in cases where teeth are missing, it can even help restore dental function. There are multiple treatment options to close gaps between teeth and improve the smile's appearance. Once the underlying cause of a patient's gapped teeth is determined, the appropriate treatment can also be performed. Treatments may be performed alone or combined to create a beautiful, gap-free smile. Some treatments to improve the appearance of gapped teeth include:
- Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are customized, tooth-shaped shells used to improve the size, shape, and overall appearance of the teeth. Veneers can be used on one or more teeth to close gaps and address other dental flaws.
- Dental bonding: Dental bonding treatment can improve the overall aesthetics of the teeth by masking imperfections while also closing gaps. Dental bonding treatment uses a soft, malleable resin, which is directly applied and shaped on the teeth, and then hardened once the desired appearance is achieved.
- Traditional orthodontics: Traditional orthodontics can treat severe gaps and other bite issues using a metal bracket and wire system.
- Invisalign®: Patients looking for discreet orthodontic treatment may be suitable candidates for Invisalign®. Invisalign® uses clear plastic trays to realign the teeth, closing gaps and straightening crooked teeth.
- Dental implants: Gaps caused by missing teeth can be treated with dental implants. Dental implants are surgically placed posts, upon which different dental restorations can be attached.
- Frenectomy: An oversized labial frenum can be reduced with the frenectomy procedure. A frenectomy can be combined with other treatments to allow better gap closure between the teeth.
Find Out Which Treatment Is Right for You
To find out which treatment is best for your needs, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mortensen.