Are you a tooth lover who always brushes and flosses properly? Do you always keep your teeth clean and white? If yes, then you probably have no worries about the health of your teeth. However, no matter how well you take care of your teeth, it’s still possible to get gapped teeth.
These gaps can be small but could have a detrimental impact on how you feel about your smile. They can make you feel self-conscious, which may mean you are less likely to smile. Fortunately, gapped teeth are no longer a major dental issue with a variety of treatments available.
Today, we will be looking at the causes of gapped teeth, as well as the treatment options available to you.
What causes gapped teeth?
‘Diastema’ is the medical name for having a gap between two teeth. Diastema is most common between the front two incisor teeth but can happen between any two teeth. There are many reasons and causes for gapped teeth.
- When the size of the teeth and the size of the jawbone do not match, then you may find gaps popping up between your teeth. Interestingly, if the opposite occurs, you will see the crowding of teeth.
- Undersized and missing teeth can cause surrounding teeth to shift and move to compensate for space. However, this naturally creates completely new gaps.
- An oversized labial frenum can force a gap between the front two incisor teeth. The labial frenum is a piece of tissue that extends from the upper lip to the gums. When this goes past the gums it can expand and pass between the two incisors. This then blocks the space between the teeth.
- There is also research suggesting that when babies and toddlers suck their thumbs, they end up pulling their front teeth forward, forming gaps over time.
- Another peculiar cause of gapped teeth is the swallowing reflex. The natural swallowing reflex is to push your tongue against the roof of your mouth as you swallow. Some people unnaturally push their tongue against their front teeth when they swallow. This push causes front teeth to shift and gaps get formed.
- A major cause of gapped teeth is gum disease. Gum disease weakens the jawbone and causes it to recede. This then causes your teeth to become loose and move, this forming gapped teeth.
It is advised to get checked up by a dentist even if the gaps between your teeth aren’t bothering you, mentally and aesthetically. This is because gapped teeth could indicate a case of gum disease.
There are different treatment options available depending on the extent of the gaps observed in your teeth.
- DENTAL BONDING: This is the quickest and easiest way to fix gapped teeth. During this treatment, an enamel-coloured resin is applied to your teeth to close gaps. The resin is shaped to your teeth and hardened using a light that bonds the material to the tooth. This closes the gaps around that tooth. Whilst dental bonding is the most accessible and affordable option, the resin is prone to staining and can chip/break after a few years. Dental Bonding’s benefits can be seen for a long time if handled with proper care and maintenance.
- VENEERS: This is a more invasive treatment option than Dental Bonding with the result lasting for years. Veneers are thin porcelain caps shaped in a lab to match your teeth shape and colour. They are bonded to your teeth and can cover gaps and imperfections. Dental Veneers is an irreversible procedure as the enamel is removed to place the veneers.
- DENTAL IMPLANTS: This is simply replacement teeth that fit perfectly into gaps. This is the best option for gaps that are essentially a full tooth wide. The replacement is inserted into the jawbone or the gum. This particular treatment option has a near 100% success rate but is a costly choice.
- ORTHODONTICS: For really severe cases of gapped teeth, you may be referred to an orthodontist. If you are struggling with multiple gaps in your smile, an orthodontist can give you braces to correct the overall smile. This can come in the form of metal brackets or invisible aligners. This is the complete makeover option and so takes a long time to implement. However, for severe cases, orthodontics may be the only option.
If you have spotted gaps in between your teeth and you want to do something about it, then make sure to make an appointment with your dentist. The right treatment for your gapped teeth is out there and waiting for you.
Your dental professional will examine your teeth and offer the best option for you or refer you to an orthodontist if the situation is too severe for them to handle.