Although some character actors, football players, and other famous people enjoy having gaps in their teeth, most regular people do not. They become self-conscious and even embarrassed about their smile. Some gaps also cause problems with oral hygiene; creating spaces that can become clogged with food, or allow painful seeds or other material to injure the underlying gums. Gaps between teeth can be corrected in a number of ways with cosmetic dentistry.
Causes of Tooth Gaps
One of the most common, and unfortunate causes of gaps between teeth come from dental professionals who advise, prematurely, to have teeth pulled. Many adults have gaps in their teeth as a result of having teeth pulled as a child because of potential over crowding. Many dentists and orthodontists fail to take into account the amount of growth potential in a young persons jaw. The result is that instead of overcrowding; there end up being too few teeth spread across the jaw, leaving abnormal spaces between teeth.
Other factors that may lead to abnormal spacing include:
Problems Related to Gaps
The problems that occur with gaps between teeth are not just aesthetic issues. Some gaps, especially in the back portion of the mouth where gaps may not even be as noticeable, may trap relatively large amounts of food particles, which may increase the chances of decay or gum disease. In some cases, crooked teeth may cause gaps near the bottom of the tooth that may be hard to reach with a toothbrush or even floss if the top of the teeth are close together. Damage to the gums between gaps of two teeth may occur during chewing, leading to pain and even abnormal growth of the gums, causing further aesthetic issues.
Gap Correction Options
There are only a few options for correcting the spacing between teeth. Expensive and time-consuming orthodontia is only one option. Other, cosmetic options, which are more cost effective and quicker to apply include:
If the teeth are relatively straight and the gaps not too large, porcelain veneers may be applied to the teeth surrounding the tooth gap, giving it a more natural appearance. The veneer is shaped in such a way as to add additional material toward the gap, while maintaining a natural tooth appearance. The dentist takes care to ensure that proper proportions are used so the teeth do not appear too large. This option is great for where just one or two teeth may need correction.
The other option uses a new tooth straightening technology called Invisalign. With the aid of a computer, a series of plastic tooth trays, or aligners, is made that slowly realign the teeth. The trays are worn continuously except for cleaning and at mealtime. Every two weeks, the tray is switched for the next in the series until the teeth are in the desired position. Unlike braces, Invisialign is virtually invisible and makes dental hygiene much easier.