As dental specialists with around three decades of practice in Sacramento, we understand how important it is for you to feel confident in your smile. It’s very healthy to want your ideal smile, and if a gap between teeth is getting in your way, there are dental procedures that can help.
Gaps between teeth are not fixed naturally and can get bigger with age. Gum gaps may also lead to other gum and dental issues. Lucky for you, modern dentistry allows dentists to fill gaps between teeth and fix the shape of your smile. A quick, thorough dental consultancy will also reveal your oral health. As your dentist, we can guide you toward the best course of action that combines medical and cosmetic treatment.
Tired Of The Gap Between Your Teeth?
Diastema is a medical term that refers to a space or gap between teeth. It’s a condition that anybody can be affected by regardless of sex or age group. In fact, in some children, gaps between teeth might disappear once their baby teeth fall and permanent teeth grow in.
Diastema can occur anywhere, but it’s most noticeable when it occurs between the two upper front teeth. If the gaps are elsewhere in the mouth or of a smaller size, you may not even notice it exists.
A gap between front teeth can lead to self-esteem issues. At times, it might be the symptom of a different problem, such as a gum infection. For those who want to close or reduce the size of the gap, reach out to us at Soft Touch Dentistry, and we will leverage our expertise in diastema treatment to correct gapped teeth.
What Causes Gaps Between teeth – Diastema?
There is no one singular cause behind gapped teeth. You may have noticed the gap between your teeth since you can remember, or it may have become more pronounced recently. We will list the possible causes and a list of co-occurring symptoms of diastema. This will help you better understand your dental history and know what to look for.
When children start losing their baby teeth around 6, gaps between the upper teeth occur. It’s natural and pretty common in kids and gets fixed naturally. Until age 12, many children have a combination of their baby teeth and adult teeth. However, their jaw and teeth set in as the upper canines form. At this point, gaps should disappear.
Three factors determine the potential of gapped teeth. These are the position, size, and shape of your teeth. If either of the three is unusual, the teeth do not get adequate pressure and support from their surroundings. This leads to spaces between teeth as the gums alone cannot keep them from drifting apart.
The most common reason for gapped front teeth is underdeveloped upper lateral incisors. These are the teeth surrounding your upper front teeth. If these are missing or underdeveloped, your front teeth lack the support to be bridged close.
It’s a gum infection that damages soft tissues inside your mouth. Left untreated leads to tooth loss and damaged teeth and bones. The tissue damage loosens your teeth and results in a gap between your teeth. Infections generally can cause a host of other issues and reduce the overall health of your gums. Infected gums can also exacerbate cavity formation, dietary issues, and bad breath.
Outgrown Labial Frenum
The soft tissue that covers the inside of your upper lip and the gum above your upper front teeth is called the labial frenum. When the top two teeth break out in kids, the labial frenum might outgrow, causing a gap between the teeth. It’s also referred to as a lip tie and can be fixed in children under five via frenectomy.
Pressure Against Front Teeth
A few concerning habits in young children lead to diastema. These habits include thumb or finger sucking and biting lower lips. This creates pressure against the front teeth and might enlarge gaps due to their baby teeth falling.
For adults, improper swallowing reflexes might cause gapped front teeth. The correct swallowing reflex pushes your tongue against the roof of your mouth. An incorrect swallowing reflex pushes your tongue against your front teeth. Tongue piercings might exacerbate this if the stud keeps putting pressure on the front teeth.
Co-Occurring Symptoms Of Diastema
While it’s important to know what causes gaps between teeth, other symptoms must be remembered. Other signs might accompany diastema; consult a dentist soon if you notice any of these.
- Swelling in gums
- Gum bleeding
- Receding gum
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Infection or redness in gums
Accumulation of tartar and plaque, trauma, accidents, and other injuries are also contributors to dental issues. If you partially or fully broke a tooth due to an accident, it may have damaged the roots and jaw bone. All of these symptoms should be treated as a serious cause for concern. If you experience any of these, book an appointment with us.
Correcting Gapped Teeth
Dental treatment is not required if the gap has occurred temporarily after your children’s baby teeth have fallen. However, adults might need diastema treatment for a variety of reasons. It can be to address a severe dental health risk or aesthetic issues.
We provide cosmetic smile makeover consultations to understand your requirements. For many happy clients, we have successfully performed cosmetic dentistry procedures to correct gapped teeth over the years. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but we guarantee marginal and visible improvements.
If you are looking for solutions, here are your options:
Braces and Retainers
This treatment is the most common and effective. It involves following a long-term plan and requires consistent follow-ups but delivers promising results. You’d need to put on a complete set of braces that’d put pressure on surrounding teeth to bridge the gaps.
Braces are a good option if you have problems with the bite or other teeth-alignment issues. Your teeth’ health, size, and shape factor in and will determine whether braces alone are sufficient.
Braces take between 12 and 18 months to produce results. You may also require using clear retainers or veneers afterward.
These are custom-made, porcelain-based materials that cover the surface of your teeth. It’s most effective for treating tooth gaps caused due to undersized teeth. At Soft Touch Dentistry, you have multiple options to choose from:
Composite veneers are a minimally-invasive procedure where a dentist makes veneers from translucent resin. It’s less expensive and more versatile, and you can cover as many teeth as you need. This solution is best suited if the gap between the teeth is anywhere between 1 and 3 millimeters. The procedure also fixes odd shape and discoloration issues, providing visibly excellent results in one appointment. While the process requires minimal tooth preparation, the veneer’s quality depends on the dentist’s expertise.
High-Quality Composite Veneers:
These are more expensive than composite veneers but excellent for masking more significant gaps between teeth. You can modify the procedure, and they are stronger than their composite counterpart. While the teeth preparation time is relatively higher, porcelain veneers have a better bite load.
It’s a relatively simple and cost-effective solution that works well if the gap is caused due to small teeth size. In dental bonding or direct resin bonding, a tooth-colored filling material is applied to the teeth’s surface. The gap is filled and then hardened with the help of light rays. The fruition of the process depends on the original color and shape of the teeth.
If the gap between your teeth is due to missing teeth, you need to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant. A metal screw is inserted in your jawbone, and a tooth is implanted with supporting devices on either side of the new implant. It’s also called a dental bridge and closes the gap entirely.
Suppose you have gapped teeth due to another condition, such as an outgrown labial frenum or cyst. In that case, you’d first need to undergo orthodontic surgery. Once the excess soft tissue or cyst has been removed, the gap between teeth can be treated.
For those self-conscious about their smile, Invisalign is an alternative to braces. These are invisible and more comfortable than metal braces. But they only work if the teeth are sufficiently aligned and can be used by all age groups.
Oral and Gum Diseases Treatment
Suppose you have gum disease or infection, plaque buildup, or tartars across your gum line. In that case, your dentist needs to treat that before they can perform any procedure to reduce or close the gap between your teeth.
Preventing Gaps Between Teeth
There are fewer alarming conditions than receding gums and loosening teeth. Gaps between teeth can result from abnormal growth, trauma, infection, or bad habits that push pressure on the front teeth.
You cannot prevent diastema from occurring due to natural causes. Still, you can prevent it from worsening and course correcting in due time.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and follow-ups.
- Brush your teeth twice daily.
- Floss, and keep your tongue clean,
- Get dental cleaning done every six months.
- Help your kids break bad habits, including sucking on thumbs and fingers.
- Learn proper swallowing reflexes.
- If you have gotten a tongue piercing, learn methods to maintain your teeth. Here’s a blog post you can read to know more about the side effects of tongue piercing.
- In case of gum disease or bad breath, consult a dentist immediately.
Ask Your Dentist At Soft Touch Dentistry
Are gaps between teeth a problem in Sacramento? Not anymore! The quality of care at Soft Touch Dentistry is second to none, and we have dedicated and experienced dentists. Over our 29 years of experience dealing with patients from different age groups, we have become uniquely qualified to solve dental issues of all kinds.
We always recommend our patients understand the causes before treating the symptoms. If you need to know why there are gaps between your teeth and directly go for a cosmetic treatment plan, it may not provide long-lasting effects. It may mask other more serious issues such as gum infection or weak jaw bones.
To increase the longevity of your teeth and dental treatments applied, we start with a comprehensive check-up and dental cleaning. Once we have established your dental history and know the health of your teeth and gums, we will recommend a holistic treatment plan. Planning allows us to provide preventive care and ensure your treatment plan goes smoothly.
This article is meant for informative purposes and should act as an initial guideline. It does not substitute in-person consultation, and some dental procedures may not be viable for your case.
If you have gaps between your teeth or any additional questions about your specific situation, we are here to help. Please message us or call us to schedule a consultation at 916-424-1703.