If you have gaps between your teeth, it may make you feel self-conscious about your smile. You’re not alone, though. According to the American Dental Association, as many as 25.4% of adults have a gap between their front teeth. Some gaps may be small and virtually unnoticeable, but other gaps, especially between your front teeth, may be bigger.
However, there are many things you can do to bridge the gaps. Dr. Thomas Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about the options available that can restore your confidence in your smile.
What causes gaps
Gaps between your teeth are a condition known as diastema. In children, these gaps may eventually close on their own, once their adult teeth come in. However, in adults, permanent gaps are likely to be caused by teeth that are too small for the person’s jaws.
A diastema can also develop if you sucked your thumb as a child or if you have a condition called tongue thrust, in which your tongue places pressure against your teeth.
In addition, a diastema may result from gum disease, which is a type of infection. Gum disease causes inflammation, which can damage the teeth and the gums that support them. If your diastema is due to gum disease, we need to treat this before we can address the cosmetic issues the gap creates.
If you have relatively straight teeth, you may be a good candidate for bonding to close the gap between your teeth. Bonding material is made of a tooth-colored composite. The material is porous, so it’s prone to staining if you smoke or drink a lot of coffee. Bonding material is also softer than bone, so it’s more likely to chip if you regularly bite your nails or pens, for example.
Veneers are extremely thin porcelain shells bonded to the surface of your natural teeth. Your teeth are first filed down slightly to make room to place the veneers on top of them. Veneers are more durable than bonding and generally last for about 10 years.
Veneers can fix a variety of dental issues in addition to closing gaps. If your teeth are cracked, chipped, or slightly crooked, veneers can cover up these problems.
Braces are another option for closing the gap between teeth. Traditional metal braces with brackets and wires certainly work for gaps and other dental issues, including crooked teeth.
However, if you don’t want traditional braces, there’s another option — Invisalign®. This system uses clear aligners to move your teeth into a different position. Dr. Sokoly will make custom trays for you to wear, which you’ll switch out every couple of weeks as your teeth gradually shift. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign trays are clear, and you can take them out to eat and drink.
Not everyone is a good candidate for Invisalign; it depends on how extensive the amount of dental correction you need. Dr. Sokoly will let you know if you’re a good candidate at your consultation.
If you have a gap between your teeth and feel self-conscious about it, you don’t have to live with it any more. Let us help you restore your smile. Call Dr. Thomas Sokoly at 202-280-2428 today, or request an appointment online.