Gap Teeth & Diastema: Why and How to fix Gap Teeth
Sure gaps aren’t everyone’s favorite smile design, but do they truly cause dental problems? If you have a gap between your teeth (what dentist’s call a diastema), chances are you’ve already noticed part of what makes them a dental problem. Gap teeth trap food. In addition, they also trap bacteria and plaque. In fact, any space that catches chicken or lettuce creates a serious risk for cavities and failed crowns. Gaps also create a cosmetic problem that can leave us feeling self conscious about our smiles. Whether you love or hate how your diastema looks is a personal preference. However, the health risk that comes with the extra build-up is clinical. So how do we fix gap teeth?
How we close a gap depends on what caused it
If you have gap teeth or a diastema, you’ll need to find answers to the following questions to determine how your gaps should be fixed:
– Are your teeth too small?
– Is your jaw too large?
– Have you lost teeth?
– If you have gaps because your teeth are too small, then enlarging your teeth with restorations will fill the gaps and give you a broader, brighter smile. No more diastema. (Click here to read more about gaps between front teeth)
– If your jaw is too large, then moving teeth together is often the best course to close gaps and create a beautiful smile.
– If a lost tooth created the gap, move teeth where they used to be and replace the missing tooth – giving you your smile back!
Why does fixing gaps “the right way” matter so much?
Think about the questions above. If your teeth are too small and you simply close the gaps with braces, you’ll end up with no gaps and a squished looking smile. If your jaw is too large but your teeth are normal size and your dentist tells you he can fix your gaps by widening your teeth with crowns, you are going to end up with a larger-than-life horse teeth smile. I’ve met patients who took this route and were sorry later. Their teeth look ridiculous.
If you’ve lost teeth, stop and think about the shape and location of the teeth you lost. Teeth don’t all look alike or have the same jobs in the mouth. If you close the gap with braces, it may look ok or it may look like your whole smile got shifted sideways. Of course, that depends on where the missing tooth was. If you widen a few teeth with crowns to close the gaps, you may have a great solution or you may have super-sized stupid looking teeth and a lop-sided smile. Don’t fix gaps with a fingers-crossed approach. Fix them the RIGHT way for the best results!
Hope is not a plan. Fix teeth the right way!
My own experience with gaps – Dr. Bec
I personally lost a pre-molar as a teenager and ended up with bizarre gaps on one side after the teeth shifted around. As an adult, I wanted to fix my gaps because they looked funny and they were turning into a snack saver every time I ate salad or chicken. I used ortho to move all the teeth back to their original locations and then placed an implant in the one large remaining tooth-sized gap. My wife loves my new smile and I love that it doesn’t pack food anymore, doesn’t have the pirate-gap and is proportionate and balanced. – Dr. Bec
Isn’t it silly to spend time and money fixing gaps between teeth?
People often talk about gap teeth as a simple cosmetic problem.
The other day, I met a beautiful young lady with an obvious gap between her front teeth. (We’ll call her Colleen.) Colleen said she’d always hated that gap. Her gap made her feel insecure. Her sister had gotten braces to fix crooked teeth, but their parents refused to get Colleen’s gap fixed when she was younger because it was “just a cosmetic issue.”
It’s true that gaps create a cosmetic issue; however, it is not true that it is only a cosmetic issue. Gaps not only pack food, leading to gum disease over time; they also contribute to poor bite balance and can cause cracked and broken teeth. No one who has lost a tooth to gum disease, abscess or a fractured root will say that their problem is just cosmetic.
If you’re ignoring it because they’re only cosmetic, don’t forget that this cosmetic problem can have serious side effects.
Invisalign: For Straighter Teeth and a Beautiful Smile
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Bacteria are always present in our mouths.