Regardless of how you care for your teeth, you can still experience dental health issues that you cannot control. Gap tooth, for instance, is among these problems. Having gaps between teeth at any place in the mouth could make you feel self-conscious. For example, you are less likely to put on a smile as frequently as you ought to. It has been proven that smiling boosts one’s overall wellbeing. Therefore, feeling unable to wear a smile may have a damaging effect on how you feel.

Fortunately, if you have gap teeth, you won’t be stuck with them for your whole life if you don’t want them. A few people will have no problem having these gaps since they believe it makes them look beautiful/handsome and unique. If you don’t want these gaps, there are various things that dentists can do to remove them and help you restore your smile. If you live in Hawthorne, CA, and surrounding areas, visit Ganji Dental offices and let our dentists work on your dental issues. The dentist will assess your case thoroughly before recommending the best treatment option. In this article, we look at the various ways of treating gap teeth.

Causes of a Gap Tooth

Let us first look at why the gap tooth would occur before discussing what our dentists can do to help. There are many different causes of a gap tooth. Even though certain gaps are harmless, others occur due to dental health issues like gum disease, and they need to be addressed as soon as possible. The reasons why gapped teeth arise include:

  • The jawbone size and the teeth size are not matched perfectly
  • Missing teeth or the size of the teeth is unusual. This may cause the shifting of the adjacent teeth to compensate for the missing or the small-sized tooth leading to gaps in different places. Undersized or missing teeth often occur with the upper lateral incisors (that is, the teeth adjacent to the two front upper teeth. This can lead to the upper central incisors developing a space.
  • Gapped teeth may develop due to an improper swallowing reflex. In most people, during swallowing, their tongue presses on the pallet (the roof of the mouth). However, for others, when swallowing, their tongue presses against their front teeth. If this happens over time, it may lead to the front teeth pushing themselves forward due to pressure.
  • Gum disease leads to the weakening of the jawbone. When the jawbone weakens, your teeth will loosen, making it easy to move.
  • Thumb sucking leads to your teeth being pushed out of their alignment creating gaps
  • Gapped teeth can also occur due to labial frenum that is larger than usual. Labial frenum refers to the tissue that usually prolongs from the inside of the upper lip to the gum above the two upper front teeth. Sometimes this tissue continues growing and passes in-between the two front teeth. When this happens, the natural closing of the gap between the teeth.
  • Minors might develop temporary gaps when their milk teeth fall out. Many of these gaps are filled when the permanent teeth grow to their ultimate positions.

These are only a few of the causes of teeth gaps. Even if a tooth gap doesn’t worry you, it is still critical to have your dentist check out your situation. This is because there may be a fundamental reason for the occurrence of these gaps that must be addressed to prevent further damage to your teeth. A gap tooth itself could also be treated. The treatment method used is based on the circumstances of the patient.

Gapped Tooth Treatment Options

In case you have a larger than usual gap between your teeth, we have several treatment options available. You should consult your dentist first to see what treatment option is ideal for you. Your dentist will advise on which treatment method will yield results for your case. Here are ways in which you can treat gapped teeth.

  • Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is an easy and quick way of solving your gapped teeth problem. In a dental bonding process, the teeth neighboring the gap are smeared with a bonding resin. When this resin hardens, it resembles an actual tooth. This will give you a natural and even smile. The resin, which is applied by the use of light, can be detached from the mouth if you so require.

The main advantage of dental bonding is that it can be carried out during just one quick dental visit, but, the resin could chip and stain over time. It is critical to practice dental hygiene and care for the bond after it is in place. This will help it last for as long as possible.

Is Dental Bonding the Best Option for You?

In case your dentist tells you that your gap can be fixed through dental bonding, you still have a few considerations before you agree to undergo the procedure. Various personal habits might make dental bonding less desirable for you. Therefore, ensure you discuss concerns you have with the dentist first before a dental bonding procedure. Here are a few things you should be concerned about:

Firstly, resin, which is used in dental bonding is porous. Therefore, if you drink coffee or smoke cigarettes regularly, the resin can be stained and appear yellow. If staining concerns you, your dentist could, instead, suggest fixing your gap with veneers. Porcelain veneers do not stain as easily compared to the resin in dental bonding. Nonetheless, your regular teeth may still become discolored. Thus, to keep the natural teeth consistent with the veneers, use a whitening toothpaste for your dental care practices.

Another factor you should consider is that the resin is not as sturdy as compared to your original teeth. This implies that people who chew on pens or bite their fingernails might end up chipping the resin since it is located on the front part of the teeth. Usually, bonding can last for several years. However, in case you have a habit of biting things, you might find you require repairs earlier than expected.

Usually, any space between your front teeth is always a cause to visit your dentist and discuss available treatment options. Dental bonding for gaps can be an ideal treatment option for you. If it’s not, you are open to other options discussed in this article.

  • Orthodontic Treatment

Based on the severity of your problem, your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment for a gap tooth. Usually, orthodontic treatment is recommended if closing one big gap between your teeth will likely create other teeth gaps in the mouth. In this case, the dentist could fit braces in the gap to align all your teeth in the right manner.

Metal braces are not the only option in orthodontics treatment. If they do not work best for you, there are other options you can choose. They include:

  • Invisible braces
  • Hidden braces
  • Removable aligners
  • Clear aligners

Types of Braces

There are several types of braces your dentist can recommend based on your situation. They include:

  • Lingual Fixed braces- These are fixed on the inside part of your teeth. They are as effective when it comes to closing teeth gaps as conventional labial braces. These kinds of braces are invisible, even when you are smiling.
  • The Inman aligner- The Inman aligner is patented removable braces. They provide a safe, great value and quick option for smoothly guiding your teeth into their right position. Detachable clear braces like Invisalign have become increasingly in demand among the adult patients who want discreet orthodontic treatment.
  • Conventional labial fixed braces- these types of braces provide the best value. Patients’ choices are based on their budget and personal preferences since they all achieve the same outcome. Traditional metal types are less ordinary than they were before. For children, these braces are available with changeable elastics. Tooth-colored ceramic brace types can be paired with clear crystal brackets, which are almost invisible.

Braces are available free of charge on the NHS website for young individuals that are below eighteen years. However, this applies only when the minor is fitting traditional metal braces. Any other option the minor chooses come with an extra charge. When it comes to orthodontic treatment for adults, you have to discuss with a dentist on the options you have. He/she will assist you in deciding what type of braces will work best for your case.

Orthodontic treatment takes quite a long time to complete compared to fitting veneers or dental bonding. However, it is usually the most effective method to solve severe problems with gapped teeth. You might need to tolerate putting on braces for some time, but in the long run, your smile will get fixed.

After undergoing orthodontic treatment, you will be capable of chewing more easily since your teeth will be aligned. Orthodontic treatment also helps you to have more self-confidence because, after the treatment, you will have straight teeth without any gaps.

  • Porcelain Veneers

It is possible to resolve other cases of gapped teeth by the use of veneers. Here, a thin slice of enamel is extracted from the front part of your tooth and then replaced with a porcelain veneer. Veneers could help to fill the space between two neighboring teeth. Veneers are strong, as well as long-lasting. But, unlike the resin in dental bonding, they’re permanent. After veneers have been fitted in your mouth, they will be there forever since they will be providing similar protection as the enamel that was removed once offered. It is for this reason that you should be sure that veneers are the ideal option for managing your gap teeth problem.

Often the procedure to fix veneers takes two visits to the dentist in six weeks. These visits are usually compressive and could require several hours of examination as well as tooth preparation. At our dental offices, we have facilities that include audio/visual and sedation distractions.  We also have dental spas that offer massages and other services that will help you to stay comfortable and relaxed.

The examination and diagnostic stage of gap teeth treatment are critical since it helps to identify any dental health concerns that should be addressed first before veneer placement. Also, our dentists will work with you hand in hand in selecting the best color of the tooth that best suits you from a special chart.  Imaging technologies could enable you to see a preview of the expected results. Before and after images after a preview will enable you to view other successful cases. Veneer placement procedure begins after your dentist has completed the examination and designed a treatment customized plan.

  • Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are an ideal option for patients that have large gaps in-between their teeth. During the procedure to fix dental bridges, crowns are placed on those teeth that are neighboring the gap. Then, the dental bridge is anchored to these crowns. Sometimes, patients choose to go for dental bridges since, apart from being excellent at eliminating gaps, they are also more affordable compared to dental implants. We have various types of dental bridges from which you can choose. They include:

  • Traditional Bridges- Traditional Bridges are the most common type of dental bridge. They are made of porcelain fused to metal or porcelain.
  • Maryland bonded bridges- These are also referred to as resin-bonded bridges. Generally, these bridges are used only in the front part of a patient’s mouth, where the biting force isn’t much stronger. They consist of a false tooth attached to metal bands then fused to abutment teeth using resin.

Replacement teeth can be made of several materials. These materials include gold, porcelain, alloys, or all of them combined. We have various kinds of dental bridges that are more expensive than others. Your dentist can help you decide which type works best in your case, depending on the function, placement, expense, and appearance of that replacement tooth.

  • Cantilever Bridge- Cantilever dental bridges hold the replacement tooth from only one side. Often, they are used when the abutment teeth are positioned only on one side of your missing teeth or in locations of your mouth that are not under much stress.

At least two visits to the dentist are needed to complete the procedure for fixing dental bridges. During the initial visit, the dentist might have to file down the abutment teeth so the dental crown fits over it, leaving adequate space in-between where the replacement tooth will sit. Then, the dentist will take an impression, which gives a lab an exact mold it will use when making your bridge. The dentist will create a temporary dental bridge that is used to protect the exposed gums and teeth while the permanent one is being created.

For the dental bridge procedure to be complete, you will have to make a second visit to the dentist. During this visit, the dentist removes the temporary bridge, and the permanent one is fixed. Usually, placement involves various adjustments, so the bridge fits just right.

  • Dental Implants

Doing a dental implant is as best as having your natural teeth. During a dental implant procedure, your dentist will fix a titanium implant into your jawbone. Then, an abutment is placed on top of the implant. The crown is then attached to the abutment. A crown is a part that resembles a tooth. Even though dental implants are effective when it comes to getting rid of large gaps, they are not always the ideal option for everybody. For example, if one’s gums are unhealthy, they will affect the durability of the dental implants. Thus, if you have gum disease, you might have to get it treated first before undergoing a dental implant procedure. Also, after the implant, maintain the good health of the gums going forward.

Advantages of Dental Implants

There are several reasons why you would choose to undergo a dental implant procedure over other ways of fixing gapped teeth. Here are a few of them:

  • Aesthetics- In case you want an instant smile, dental implants are the ideal choice for you. They feel and appear just like your natural teeth.
  • Durability- Durability is one of the reasons you should opt for dental implants. They are the most permanent solution for your gapped teeth you can have. Since dental implants are bonded to the jaw bone, they are very stable. Additionally, if you care for them, they will be as long-lasting as your regular teeth.
  • Bone health- If you opt for dental implants, the implant replaces your tooth root. This implies that even though bone loss can still take place, the chances are reduced.

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

The dental implant procedure doesn’t come without challenges. Here are a few considerations you need to look into before opting for the procedure.

  • Lengthy process- It can take longer to have dental implants fixed. You will have to wait for a maximum of six months for the implants to bond with the jaw bone. Considering that the procedure involves multiple steps, it might not be an ideal option for a person who wants an urgent fix.
  • Infections- Even though complications after a dental implant procedure are rare, the gums can get an infection after the implants are fitted. In extreme cases, complications after a dental implant procedure may lead to gum disease, causing bone loss.
  • Cost- One main thing you have to keep in mind concerning dental implants is that even when your insurance is covering the treatment, you will still have to pay for a part of the procedure. The amount you have to pay depends on the particulars of your insurance plan. However, expect to pay much money for this kind of process compared to what you would have paid for any other dental treatment.
  • Additional procedures- Under certain circumstances, dental implants might require further procedures. For instance, if you don’t have adequate bone to support the implant, you may need to do a bone graft. Also, if the sinuses are too close to the jawbone, you may be required to do a sinus lift. These additional surgery procedures increase the waiting time and may also alleviate your budget.
  • Frenectomy

If it is a larger than usual labial frenum that is causing gapped teeth, the frenum could be reduced by undergoing a surgical procedure known as a frenectomy. If a younger child undergoes this procedure, the gap might close by itself. If the procedure is carried out in an adult or older child, the gap might have to be closed using braces. 

  • Periodontal Treatment

If the gapped teeth occurred due to gum disease, then you should be checked out by a periodontist (gum specialist) or dentist and undergo periodontal treatment.

In most cases, after restoring the health of your gums, braces are used to align the teeth into place. Also, a splint could be used to attach one set of teeth to another set and keep them from shifting again. In other situations, a dental bridge is needed to close the gaps.

What You Need to Do When You Have a Gap Tooth

If you’ve gaps or a gap between your teeth, you should visit a dentist to find out what might be the cause. If there are any underlying problems, the dentist will help you identify and address them. If there aren’t any possible harmful reasons for the gaps in your teeth, you may opt to have your teeth remain the way they are. A few individuals are contented with gapped teeth because they feel that these gaps add uniqueness to their look. If they don’t look appealing to you, you might prefer asking the dentist to help you close them.

Find a Competent Dentist Near Me Who Treats Gapped Teeth

At Ganji Dental, the dentists set aside ample time to discuss issues with gapped teeth with their patients. Each discussion varies based on the severity of the problem the patient has and what treatment method is an ideal solution. All the treatment options we have mentioned here can be suitable for gapped teeth based on your circumstances. Should you have an issue with gapped teeth, contact us at 310-643-8045 for help. We will perform a thorough examination before discussing what options you have. Then, we will also help you in deciding what treatment option is the best in your situation. We serve all patients in Hawthorne, CA, who have dental health problems.