Many patients consider starting their orthodontic treatment because they are not entirely comfortable with the smile they have. One of the many problems you can have with your teeth is having gap teeth or too much space between them.
Orthodontists, like Dr. John, focus on your teeth and jaws’ alignment. Ultimately, the idea is to work on getting you a beautiful smile while improving your dental health situation.
People who have this condition are usually worried more about their looks than their dental health. However, while you can use orthodontic treatment to improve your appearance, we focus much more on helping you avoid dental health problems.
We always like to remind our patients that their health comes first. We know we all want to look our best, but you can trust that putting your dental health first makes you look amazing in our eyes. Orthodontic treatment and fixing gap teeth should be, first and foremost, about your health.
Let’s look at what this condition entails, some of the causes, and the tools to solve it.
What is Gap Teeth?
Whenever we talk about a gap between teeth, we refer to a medical condition called diastema.
Maybe you have some extra space between two of your teeth. This space can be minimal or much larger than you’d expect. Patients usually worry about them if these spaces form between their front teeth, but they could form anywhere in the mouth.
Both children and adults can suffer from diastema, though children may outgrow this condition when their permanent teeth grow in.
Depending on the stage of the patient’s dental development during which they form, some of these gaps can create additional complications.
One of the most noticeable problems resulting from these spaces between teeth is crowding. Crooked teeth, or bunched-up teeth, may result from the unusual tooth arrangement and limited space in your mouth.
These spaces are perfect for food particles to get stuck, which can complicate your dental hygiene routine. With more food lodged between your teeth, there’s an increased risk of harmful bacteria build-up, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
In general, malaligned teeth can lead to harmful periodontal disease, according to this study.
Of course, there is the cosmetic aspect to Diastema and how people perceive your smile. Fortunately, this condition can be fixed through orthodontic treatment.
Let’s first review how some people get diastema or these teeth gaps, and then we’ll check an option to treat them.
Causes of Diastema or Gap Teeth
There are several contributing factors resulting in this medical condition. Some gaps may result from a limited size in the mouth because of a patient’s smaller jaw bone. Others have diastema as a result of their teeth size. Still, these are clearly genetic factors, and there’s not much to do other than focus on treating the case.
An overgrowth in your gum line can also lead to an open space between your teeth. As they grow in, your teeth might be separated by the soft tissue literally separating them. Another condition involving these soft tissues is periodontal disease.
The resulting infections and inflammations damage the gums and may result in tooth loss. Like we mentioned, missing teeth can also lead to those gaps you want to solve with orthodontic treatment.
Several studies, like this one here, also recognize some bad habits as a trigger for this spacing between your teeth. Thumb sucking from an early age forces the front teeth out of their intended alignment.
Others suffer because of inappropriate swallowing reflexes where the tongue pushes against your front teeth. Tongue thrusting is characterized by an unusual movement where your tongue pushes against your teeth instead of remaining at the mouth roof during the swallowing motion.
Treatment Options For Diastema or Gap Teeth
As orthodontists, we focus on the alignment of your teeth and jaws. Treatment options will usually involve using some type of appliance to force your teeth into the intended position. However, there are several things we need to determine before we bond brackets to your teeth or design your Invisalign® trays.
First of all, we have to determine the cause of your gap teeth. If your problem is related to periodontal disease, you should focus first on getting that solved with a specialist. Orthodontic treatment and periodontal care are not mutually exclusive, and you could have a team helping you simultaneously.
But we would not recommend starting orthodontic treatment if you are not receiving help to solve your periodontal disease.
Once we take care of that additional consideration, we can review the orthodontic appliance options available to you.
Using Invisalign Clear Aligners for Your Smile Makeover
Many patients are well-informed of the amazing job that metal or ceramic braces do. However, we wanted to focus on using clear aligners to close gaps between teeth and show that orthodontic treatment can efficiently help you solve Diastema.
Every patient’s case is unique, and we will have to perform initial studies of your conditions to ensure that Invisalign can fix your problem.
Invisalign offers a discreet option for teens and adults looking for treatment. Patients are always thrilled when they hear they can undergo treatment without the unwanted attention that characterizes dental braces. Still, there are limitations to the technology.
Depending on the type of movements required to realign your teeth, your clear aligners might require some attachments that make the treatment viable in severe cases, but that would defeat the purpose of having clear aligners.
Fortunately, this is not usually the case for people with tooth gaps. Still, we would remind everyone of the need to undergo an initial consultation. Smaller tooth gaps may only take a few months to close, but treatment length will vary on a case-by-case basis.
What About Using Dental Restoration Options?
If you are looking for a purely cosmetic procedure to fill gaps between your teeth, you could focus on Veneers or bonding. The specialist will use a special composite that resembles your natural tooth color to improve your smile.
These same procedures can help with cracked or chipped teeth, and we usually refer to them as restorative dentistry procedures.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to fix your case of Diastema. Whatever the procedure you think of initially, focus first on consulting with a professional about the causes of your gap teeth. Make sure that your treatment fits with your lifestyle and that it will fix whatever underlying causes there are for your Diastema.
If you are a parent reading this blog article, focus on helping your children prevent the formation of these gaps by breaking their thumb-sucking habits or looking for professional help to work on improper swallowing reflexes.
Minimize the risk of periodontal disease with good dental hygiene, and complete your treatment to enjoy a beautiful smile and enhanced self-esteem.
Our Keizer and Salem neighbors can trust that Dr. John can help them choose orthodontic treatment. If you are looking for Invisalign clear aligners to fix your gap teeth, make sure to set your next appointment online and start the journey with a team focused on creating confident smiles!