A common concern for teens and adults is the gaps between teeth. And we are not only referring to the gaps from an aesthetical point of view but also in terms of function. Teeth gaps can trigger numerous mouth problems, from bacteria coming from trapped food particles to plaque build-up, tooth decay, and even gum complications if left untreated.
The best treatment for fixing gaps in teeth is Braces, and in Estes Orthodontics, we are experts on closing spaces between teeth and at the same time helping you get your perfect and beautiful smile.
Causes of Gap Teeth or Diastema
Known in the medical field as diastema, the gap between teeth can have many causes. First of all, the condition is harmless. It usually starts in childhood, and the gap will close over time when the child’s permanent teeth come into place.
When the gap does not close and is wider than .5 mm, it is considered a diastema. Most cases are visible as it involves the two front teeth, but they can also exist between teeth.
- As we grow older, if teeth are too small or if we lose teeth, there are higher chances of a gap developing and causing a diastema. These cases are fairly common in the teeth next to the upper front teeth, so the gap would be visible between the two front teeth.
- The size of the jaw is relative to the size of one’s teeth, but when our teeth are too small for our mouths, this may cause diastema. It can also be a genetic condition that runs in families.
- Connecting the upper lip to the top of the gum in the front of the mouth, we have a tissue called the labial frenum. When the tissue overgrows, it may drag the teeth, creating a gap between the two front, upper teeth.
- Gum disease and the inflammation that comes with it may also damage our bones and leave the teeth free to move in the mouth or sometimes fall, which will again leave a gap in between the teeth.
- Improper swallowing reflex. The correct way to swallow is done by pressing our tongue against the roof of our palate. Improper swallowing reflex will happen as a consequence of wrongfully pressing the tongue against the backs of the upper front teeth when swallowing. The pressure we put on our teeth will gradually push them apart and create a gap.
- Finally, there are other behaviors similar to the improper swallowing reflex that might also cause diastema, such as thumb or lip sucking or tongue thrusting in babies, or any other habit that may move the teeth out of alignment as well. Sometimes we also see diastema in teens or adults that have had some dental treatments, and the gap reappears after treatment.
What Can I Use to Treat Gap Teeth?
So here at Estes Orthodontics, our experienced doctors and staff offer our patients several ways to treat their diastema depending on their age and needs.
Braces are perhaps the most common orthodontic treatment to close the gap between teens and adults, and we offer a variety of options:
Traditional Metal Braces
The most used, convenient, and cheapest option. It might not be the best-looking one, but it has the advantage that today’s braces have greatly evolved from their predecessors, and nowadays, they look smaller and more comfortable than ever. Made of high-grade stainless steel and with colored elastics, they can be very chic and customized to anyone’s look. You can also be bold and use many different colors of elastic bands to close the gap.
Gold Metal Braces
If you want to make an impact, gold metal braces are certainly a statement. They offer all the great advantages of traditional braces with a color that looks great with the natural tones found in most teeth.
Clear (Ceramic) Braces
For a discreet look, ceramic braces are a perfect choice. One thing to consider is that with these braces, you will have to make a few changes in your diet; we recommend this to avoid stains, as the brackets are made of tooth-colored or clear materials and are also more brittle than their metal counterparts.
Invisalign Clear Aligners
Even more discreet than the clear/ceramic braces, we have clear aligners. With the help of a series of clear, removable, plastic aligners to close the gap in your teeth, the treatment is almost unnoticeable. The trays are removable, letting you drink and eat without major problems, making your oral hygiene way simpler. You will also have to mind not to stain the trays and be diligent in brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal and cleaning your trays and teeth at night. Besides these minor details, the aligners are one of the favorite treatments nowadays as they as they are very discreet and comfortable to use.
Veneers and Crowns
Both treatments are mostly performed in adults as teeth won’t grow or change. Veneers are the fastest and most popular option for covering teeth gaps. The ceramic pieces will fit over your teeth, making your teeth look straight and without a gap.
Crowns on the other side cover your tooth completely and will also instantly fix your diastema gap.
Oversized Labial Frenum Periodontal Treatment
Sometimes, you may receive a referral to a periodontist for special treatment of oversized labial frenum (also known as a frenectomy). In a Frenectomy, the frenum is cut and then repositioned for better flexibility. In teens and adult cases, braces might be required after closing the space, while on a child, the space might close by itself.
How To Prevent or Treat Gap Teeth?
Most diastemas are preventable, and some steps might be taken to reduce the risk of developing a gap, especially in children. This is why it is so important to help our kids learn good oral hygiene practices, break thumb-sucking habits, and learn proper swallowing reflexes.
For those cases that are not preventable, as we have seen, we have many diastema treatments and ways to close a gap successfully. For further information, feel free to contact us and set an appointment, as our team will be happy to assist you and set you up on the right track for a wonderful and healthy smile.