David Letterman, Madonna, and Michael Strahan all have one thing in common: a diastema – or a gapped smile. These individuals have decided to keep their unique look as a trademark of sorts. However, some people are not as thrilled with the spaces between their own teeth. Spaces commonly appear between the two front teeth, but gaps can appear anywhere in the smile. At our Corpus Christi, TX, practice, Drs. Charles Robertson and Perry Orchard offer various procedures for gapped tooth treatment, including dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and Invisalign®.
Why Do I Have Gaps Between My Teeth?
There are several reasons why a diastema may be present. In many cases, it is simply due to genetics. For example:
- If the jawbone is too large for the teeth, spaces can develop.
- A gap can be created by an oversized labial frenum, which is the fold of tissue that connects the lip to the gums.
- Small or missing teeth can cause shifting, which can result in even more spacing.
However, there are also certain habits or health issues that can lead to gapped teeth:
- Prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use can cause the front teeth to jut out, resulting in spaces.
- Gaps can develop if you tongue thrust. When you swallow, the tongue should press up against the palate. Patients with tongue thrust push the tongue against the teeth. Over time, this can result in spaces.
- Periodontal disease erodes the jawbone, causing the teeth to move and shift.
Treatment for Gapped Teeth
There are a few different ways to address gapped teeth. Your recommended treatment will depend on the cause of your diastema and your desired results. It is important to note that in some cases, spacing is simply an aesthetic issue.
This process involves applying a composite resin material, which can widen or change the shape of the teeth as needed. Once the material has been molded, it will be hardened with a curing light and polished to a natural-looking shine. The composite can be color-matched to your surrounding teeth for a seamless appearance.
These custom-crafted, wafer-thin restorations can be bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Like dental bonding, a veneer can change the size and shape of a tooth for a more uniform smile.
In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be the most effective way to close the spaces in your smile. Invisalign is a popular choice among our adult patients because the aligner trays are made from a clear thermoplastic material. Because they are virtually invisible, most people will not be able to tell you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Spacing and Periodontal Disease
If your spacing is the result of gum disease, it is important to address the condition before cosmetic treatments are pursued. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to mobility and tooth loss. During your initial consultation, our doctors can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.
Learn More about Gapped Tooth Treatment
If you are ready to achieve a more uniform smile, we can help. Schedule an appointment at our practice to find out more about your options.