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Are Gapped Teeth a Concern?
Many adults have a gap or two between teeth. Missing teeth, thumb sucking as a child, an oversized labial frenum, periodontal disease or crooked teeth are a few of the culprits that can create gapped teeth.
The main concern with gapped teeth is oral hygiene. Gaps create places for food to lodge between the teeth, which can lead to cavities and other problems. A simple solution is to always floss after eating.
Other concerns are less about the gap and more about understanding why the gap exists. If the gap exists due to missing teeth that have been ignored and not corrected, then a shift has occurred in the mouth. This needs to be addressed to keep more teeth from shifting.
Correcting gapped teeth
There are a number of ways to correct gapped teeth:
Braces and retainers
Gaps can occur due to crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Braces or retainers can help straighten the teeth and close the gap over time. However, just because there is a gap, that does not mean that braces or a retainer is necessary. Small gaps that are not accompanied by crooked teeth or overcrowding can be corrected in other ways.
The quickest and least expensive treatment to correct gapped teeth is dental bonding. A resin is applied to both teeth and cured with a special light. The cured resin is then polished and smoothed to look natural. This process camouflages the gaps temporarily. It can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.
A simple solution for small gaps is veneers. These are thin covers that are custom made for the front of teeth. After removing a small layer of enamel from the tooth, the veneer is cemented over the tooth. Veneers offer a solution for teeth that are already straight and the bite fully in alignment. Veneers are a long lasting but permanent decision due to the removal of enamel.
If gaps are caused by missing teeth, then the best course of action is to replace the missing teeth. Dental implants give the strongest bite and support for artificial teeth. It also protects against bone loss and stimulates bone growth, keeping the teeth from further shifting. This process can take months to complete but provides a strong supportive bite that looks and feels natural.
Ask your dentist
Everyone’s mouth is different, but if having gapped teeth does not line up with your idea of the perfect smile, it is time to speak with your dentist. There are various dental treatments, from veneers to implants and braces, that can be considered to correct your smile.
Perhaps the gap is cosmetic or caused by an underlying issue. Whatever the reason, if you are unhappy with gapped teeth, know that they can be corrected. Find out which option is best for you.
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