When it comes to filling a gap between teeth, the treatment depends on several factors. These are the reason for the gap, the size of the space and whether there is a missing tooth or not.
Of course, gaps between teeth can be caused by missing teeth or when you lose a tooth. It is also possible to have smaller gaps between teeth and this can be due to receding gums, or if your teeth are slightly narrower or smaller than the space in your mouth.
Some people have naturally spaced teeth, and this is not always abnormal but a natural variation similarly to having blue or brown eyes. It is not uncommon to have a small gap between the upper central incisors or in the front of your mouth (known as a ‘diastema’) especially amongst Afro-Caribbean people. This is usually due to the teeth being slightly smaller or narrower than the space in the dental arch or jaws.
Most children will have gaps between their teeth in their younger years as their teeth are developing and jaws growing. As the milk teeth fall out and the adult teeth come through, these gaps tend to close naturally. However, sometimes the gaps persist, and this is usually to do with the size and shape of the teeth, along with the size of the jaws.
Another reason for gaps is that some children fail to develop certain teeth (congenitally missing teeth), which leads to larger gaps in the smile where the teeth are missing. The presence of an oversized labial frenum under the upper lip can appear between the central incisors, this is where a small flap of gum comes down from the inside of the lip and is attached between the upper front teeth. This can be easily removed by the dentist so that the teeth can naturally grow together.
A small gap between the teeth is not necessarily a bad thing, as it may just be the natural appearance of your unique smile. There are several celebrities who have diastemas between their front teeth (the ‘London look’ trend), such as Lara Stone and Georgia May Jagger. As the saying goes, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, so if you’re happy, and there’s no underlying medical concerns, it’s perfectly ok to embrace your diastema.
What is the best option to fill a gap between teeth?
If there is a missing tooth or if the gap is unsightly, or if it is causing you distress, then it’s best to have a Dentist take a look and see what the best option would be for you. Depending on the situation and the reason for the gap, treatment options can include:
- Composite bonding: using tooth-coloured composite bonding to close small spaces
- Dental veneers: placed over the front of the tooth to improve the overall shape and appearance
- Dental crowns: used if there are concerns about the underlying tooth structure
- Dental bridge: inserting a replacement tooth or teeth by securing it to the adjacent teeth
- Dental Implants: An excellent solution for missing or failing teeth
- Braces: gaps between the teeth can often be closed by means of orthodontic treatment with braces.
To determine the best option for you, your dentist will first need to diagnose what has caused the gap to occur in the first place. For example:
- Genetics: diastemas can run in families and some children never grow certain teeth.
- Size discrepancies: sometimes the teeth are too small for the size of the jaw or dental arch.
- Bad habits: thumb/finger sucking pushes the front teeth forward and protruding teeth can often have gaps between them.
- Gum disease*: gum disease, or periodontal disease) can lead to gum recession and gaps opening up between the teeth and also to teeth drifting, spreading out or protruding. It is really important that this is treated to prevent you losing your teeth.
- Injury: the teeth may have been chipped, broken or knocked out in an accident.
* NOTE: if gum disease is present, this will be treated as a priority before your dentist begins further treatment to close any gaps.
Your dentist will also assess the condition of the teeth, discuss your concerns and how you’d like your teeth and smile to look.
Age also plays an important factor in deciding on the best course of action. Often, braces are the best choice for younger patients with congenitally missing teeth. Whereas dental implants or bridgework might be a better option in older patients who are missing teeth.
Deciding on the best treatment for you can only be done in consultation with your dentist. During your assessment they will explain all the options available to you, discussing the pros and cons of each treatment. They will also share their recommendation based on their professional experience from helping other patients, and be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. It’s an indicator of how you’re feeling – whether happy or sad, confident or nervous – and is perhaps the most attractive feature that anyone can possess.
We want to give you the smile of your dreams and our highly skilled team are experienced to deal with everything – including your diastema. Don’t let a small gap stand in the way of your confidence. Make an appointment with Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry today.