Spaces between teeth are one of the most common cosmetic concerns. They can affect your smile and even the function of your teeth
Notice a gap between your teeth? These are termed “diastemas”. They can occur anywhere in the mouth and can be caused by a number of factors, from developmental to even behavioural. Gaps in the front teeth along the smile zone are typically fixed by a dentist for aesthetic reasons. Spaces in the back teeth however, can interfere with function.
WHAT CAUSES DENTAL GAPS
1 Small teeth Gaps can occur between teeth that are small in proportion to jaw size. Some teeth can even develop an irregular shape. For example, lateral incisors can be peg-shaped or tiny, pointy and cone-shaped.
2 Habit Thumb-sucking can push the front teeth forward, resulting in unsightly gaps.
3 Missing teeth These can result in a gummy gap, which may not be aesthetically pleasing if it is in the smile zone.
4 Large frenum The frenum is a tough fold of gum attachment with enclosed muscle tissue. A high frenum can prevent two teeth from coming together.
5 Gum disease As bone levels decline due to periodontal disease, teeth can migrate and space out. Timely intervention is crucial in halting the progress of gum disease.
NO MORE GAPS
There are many excellent options when it comes to closing gaps between teeth, and they are often simple and effective. Treatment options include:
Bonding To make the unsightly spaces appear smaller or disappear altogether, tooth-coloured dental composite material is carefully added to the teeth flanking the gap. The advantage of this technique is that it is quick to perform, painless and requires hardly any trimming of the natural tooth enamel.
Porcelain veneers or crowns These are ceramic shells that fit over the existing teeth, resulting in a more regular row of teeth to improve a smile. This option usually requires some removal of tooth enamel and more than one visit to the dentist to complete.
Braces and clear aligners Closing gaps using orthodontic movement of teeth is an excellent way to treat tooth gaps. However, this choice of treatment may take more time and should be performed by a qualified dentist.
Frenectomy An oral surgeon can perform a simple surgery to trim off a tough frenum. This is commonly done in conjunction with an orthodontic treatment to close a stubborn gap between the front incisors.
Gum treatment Regular dental visits for cleaning and good oral hygiene practices are the mainstay for treating periodontal issues, and should be done before considering any other corrective treatment.
Implants or bridges Missing teeth can be replaced by dental implants or by bridging the adjacent teeth, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing smile, while improving the chewing function of the teeth.
Remember that whatever the choice of treatment, after-care is just as important. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help you keep a beautiful smile for years.