Do you have a gap between your front teeth? While some consider it a cosmetic issue to be fixed, others think it adds to their unique appearance. Some movie and TV personalities have even made this their unique look, as they opted not to fix their teeth. Some well-known personalities, including those in the the music industry, have chosen to leave a gap, but make it smaller and less noticeable.
While some people may consider it cute, there are others who are bothered by the look of a space between teeth. If you are uncomfortable with this gap, it may be time to look at solutions for getting it fixed. There are abundant options available.
What is This Called?
The official name for this condition is diastema, and these gaps can appear anywhere in the mouth. However, it is most noticeable when it appears on the front teeth. At Pearlee Dental in Ottawa, we can help close the gap or reduce its size, if you are one of those people who are unhappy with this space.
Causes of the Gap
Diastema may result from a number of causes. The size of the jawbone as well as the size of the teeth may be a factor. Gaps might be the result when a person’s teeth are not large enough for their jawbone. Genetics may be responsible, and diastema may run in families.
Children who suck their thumb may develop a gap in their teeth. The thumb causes the teeth to pull forward from pressure, resulting in a gap. Older children may push their tongue against the front teeth, rather than against the roof of their mouth, while swallowing. The pressure against the front teeth may cause them to part, leaving a gap.
Gum disease and inflammation can cause damage to the tissue and gums that support the teeth. Tooth loss may be the result as well as gaps between the teeth. Bleeding and swollen gums and lose teeth may be signs of gum disease.
Treating the Gap
When the underlying cause is not inflammation of the gums, it becomes more of a cosmetic issue. Braces are commonly used to close the gap, by slowly moving the teeth together.
One solution for adults is Invisalign, which may fix the gap while being invisible. Children may have braces with metal and wires that gently move the teeth through pressure.
Porcelain veneers and bonding are another option, if you do not want to wear braces. These cosmetic procedures make use of a natural looking tooth-coloured composite that can fill the gap or fit over the teeth. Your smile is improved with a fix that is often used for a cracked or broken tooth.
A dental bridge may also be used to fix the gap between teeth.
More About Dental Bonding
Eliminating the need for braces, this composite procedure can cover the gap with the use of a composite that is tooth-coloured. A tooth will be carefully sculpted to resemble a natural tooth; it will be of the size and shape needed to cover the gap. Applied as a liquid, the resin is strengthened through the use of a special light. It hardens both the tooth and resin together.
The dental bonding process requires several steps but may be accomplished in one visit. The steps are the following:
- Shade of resin selected
- Tooth is prepared for bonding
- Dentist incises the tooth surface and applies a liquid so the bonding material will hold
- Bonding material is applied
- Material is shaped as a match to your teeth
- Ultraviolet light hardens the boding material
- Bonding is polished and the dentist completes the treatment
More About Veneers
A tooth-coloured shell, veneers are extremely thin. They are a custom-made shell that fits on the tooth. They cover the front teeth to give an appearance of natural teeth. Strong and stable, veneers do not stain easily and can be used to alter the shape, size and color of your teeth. They are placed on a tooth that is already there and are often indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Veneers are done with the following process:
- Teeth are cleaned and correct shade is chosen
- The tooth is prepared, with a minute amount of the tooth enamel removed to make room for the veneer
- An impression of the tooth is made and the veneer created in the lab
- The veneer is placed on your teeth for correct fit and then cemented
- Light curing secures the veneer in place
- Excess material is removed; the veneer is polished
Veneers are often a solution for filling the gap between front teeth.
Braces, Retainers and Invisalign®
Metal braces are mostly used by children and teens but they can also be used by an adult who may want to fill the tooth gap. They may be used to improve the bite as well, as they gently push the teeth into place.
After the braces have come off, a retainer may be used to help assist the movement of the teeth into the proper position. Often, they are worn at night, helping to align the teeth. Some retainers are not removable and are attached to the teeth so that they are not seen; these retainers are called bonded retainers. Retainers may be adjusted periodically as the teeth move into place.
Invisalign® is an alternative to braces and is a very discreet solution. They help to push your teeth into the proper position. Most people will not know that your smile is being restructured and the gap eliminated with the help of an invisible sheath.
Braces, retainers and Invisalign® are done in office; we have in-office orthodontic services that can be used by the whole family.
Ready to fill the gap? If you would like to find out more about filling of your tooth gap in Ottawa, you might want to contact our dream dentistry at Pearlee Dental. Our office at 2948 Baseline Road in Ottawa is convenient to downtown. With knowledge, caring and experience, we can use our cosmetic and orthodontic procedures to create your winning smile.