If you’d like to fix gap in teeth you’ll probably be pleased to know that you may have more than one correction option. While orthodontic treatment is one option, your dental practitioner may present you with alternatives, depending on the size of your gap and what has caused it. Also called diastema, gaps between the teeth can be caused by a variety of factors. While some patients may enjoy the uniqueness of a gap between the two front teeth, others may want to fix the gap up. Let’s have a closer look at what your options could be.
What Causes Diastema?
Genetics and heredity
Gaps in the teeth can be caused by a combination of teeth that are too small and a jaw that is too big, resulting in uneven or large gaps between the teeth. In these cases, the cause is often genetic or hereditary. If this is the case, the gaps between your teeth are likely to show as your adult teeth erupt.
While it is relatively common for gaps between the teeth to be present early on in life, for most people the teeth are shifting and moving all the time. This means that the gaps can become more noticeable and more pronounced over time.
Gum disease can also cause gaps between teeth to develop, as it causes inflammation of the gums and bone. This results in loosening of the teeth over time. Gum disease is progressive, so regular check ups with your dentist should alert your dental practitioner to the problem before it gets to an advanced stage.
In the event that you have lost one or more teeth, it is highly likely that the other teeth in your mouth will shift around. This can cause gaps to open up between your teeth.
Physical and personal habits
Believe it or not, it is also possible for thumb sucking, pacifier and bottle sucking and tongue thrusting to physically force the teeth apart over time, resulting in the development of a gap.
How To Manage Diastema?
Sometimes young children present gaps in their teeth as their jaws grow and their baby teeth fall out to make way for their adult teeth.
It is possible for these gaps to close up naturally over time, but in other cases, some treatment intervention is required to stop the gaps from getting bigger.
Using veneers to fix gaps
Minor to moderate gaps between the teeth may be addressed using veneers, especially if there is some tooth discolouration, damage to the teeth or other aesthetic issues you would like to address. Porcelain veneers are the longest lasting option but similar results can be achieved with composite resin veneers, which are considerably more affordable.
Direct bonding to fix gaps
If you have small gaps to fix and do not want to change any of the aesthetics of your teeth, direct bonding could be an option to fix gaps in teeth. With direct bonding your dentist will apply tooth coloured material on either side of your teeth to increase their surface area and reduce the size of the gap. If however you want to alter the size, shape or colour of your teeth, this may not be a viable option for you.
Orthodontic treatment to fix gaps
If the gaps between your teeth are very big or you present with other dental issues such as jaw misalignment and crooked teeth, orthodontic braces are often an effective treatment. Also, if you do not need any aesthetic changes to the size, shape or colour of your teeth, orthodontic treatment may be a good idea.
Orthodontic braces offer a number of different options, depending on where you are in life. For children and adolescents, traditional metal braces are generally the best for addressing gaps between the teeth. Adults who want orthodontic treatment to fix gaps may opt for a more discreet option such as lingual braces, clear aligners or ceramic braces.
Certainly orthodontic braces take the longest to yield results, but they do straighten the teeth in the process, whereas bonding and veneers only create the illusion of a smaller gap by making the surface area of your teeth bigger. If you do choose orthodontic braces you will have to wait an average of 12 to 18 months to complete your treatment plan but it is actually possible to see results within four to six weeks in some cases (although you would still continue with your full treatment plan before your braces are removed).
Remember that if you opt for orthodontic braces to fix gaps you must complete your treatment plan and you will probably wear a retainer for at least six months afterwards. This is essential to ensure that your teeth do not shift apart again.
How you address the gaps between your teeth will depend on the cause of your diastema. Your potential treatment options should be discussed at length with your dentist before you go ahead with any treatment.
If you’d like to find out more about how you can fix gap in teeth please contact our practice for a confidential discussion.