If you have a gap between your teeth, you’re certainly not alone. Whether you like or don’t like your gap, there’s more to consider than looks.
The truth is that having a gap between your front teeth isn’t just a cosmetic issue or a matter of aesthetic preference; it can actually put you at increased risk of certain serious health concerns. Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about this common problem and what you can do about it.
It’s a health condition
You may not know that having a gap between your teeth is a medical condition called diastema. Technically, a diastema is defined as having a gap of at least 0.5 millimeters between any two teeth, which can occur anywhere in your mouth.
Some of the symptoms may include:
- Bleeding gums
- Bright red gums
- Tender, swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
These diverse symptoms tend to be a sign that you’re developing gum disease, which can be a very serious problem.
How to treat diastema
If you have gaps between your teeth and Dr. Sokoly says you have diastema, it’s not a reason to freak out. Children under age 2 may outgrow their diastema as their teeth come in. If yours didn’t or occurred after early childhood, you can treat it in any of the following ways:
Braces are an excellent option to move your teeth in a more aesthetically pleasing direction, essentially closing that gap over time.
Bonding or veneers
If you don’t want to get braces, you have the option of either dental bonding or veneers.
Dental bonding uses tooth-colored composite resin material to cover your teeth in a variety of ways, including covering over chips and cracks and closing the gap between teeth.
Dental veneers are a more permanent option than bonding, but they also tend to be more durable. Veneers are considered a lifelong commitment, but the average lifespan of veneers is about 10 years (though some reports show them lasting up to 20 years).
You need to get a millimeter of your dental enamel shaved off so thin porcelain or composite resin shells can be placed over them. When they’re in place, they look and feel just like normal teeth. Where they really make a dramatic difference is in your appearance. You can even choose any shade you want to give yourself a “Hollywood” smile.
Dental implants or a bridge
If you have a gap between your teeth due to missing teeth, you may need more serious dental work to repair the diastema. You can choose to get a bridge or dental implant, which might depend on your insurance and budget.
A bridge is an oral appliance that essentially replaces your missing tooth with a fake one (called a pontic). It looks and functions just like your normal teeth, although you need to floss under it differently.
A dental implant is a two-part process. The first part involves making sure you have enough bone structure in your jaw to allow Dr. Sokoly to implant a titanium post, which fuses to your jaw. This forms the “root” of your tooth. The second part of the process is to place a crown on top of the post.
If you have gapped teeth, it can be very serious for your health. You’re at increased risk of developing gum disease, which can in turn cause heart disease and strokes. Contact Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental today or request an appointment online at his Washington, DC, office to treat your gapped teeth.