Gaps are an interesting phenomenon resulting from a variety of causes – from natural to behavioral.
Children’s teeth develop gaps as they grow because their jaw is getting bigger and their baby teeth remain the same size. Children may have temporary gaps as their baby teeth start to fall out. This is normal and should not cause any alarm.
Gaps in adult teeth are referred to as diastemas. Diastemas appear most often between the two upper front teeth, though they can occur between any two teeth. Diastemas are also normal (take David Letterman, Mike Tyson or even supermodel Lauren Hutton, for example) and like gaps found in children, may result from a mismatch between jaw bone size and teeth size.
Let’s take a look at the causes of diastema and how your Ventura cosmetic dentist can fix it.
Tooth or Jaw Misalignment
Your tooth alignment is determined by the size of your teeth and your jaw. When these two components do not match, which they often do not, teeth can become overcrowded, crooked, or spacing issues develop. If your teeth are too small for your jaw, you may develop gaps between your teeth. Also, if you have missing teeth, even a single missing tooth, teeth can begin to drift out of alignment, leaving gaps behind.
Periodontal disease also is referred to as gum disease. It is a chronic infection that can erode jawbone, causing you to lose teeth and alter the alignment of your bite. Caring for your teeth and gums is an essential part of keeping them looking good. Failing to maintain oral health could result in periodontal disease that leads to changes in your alignment.
The labial frenum is thin connective tissue that connects your upper lip to your gums. If this tissue is too thick, it can cause a gap between your two upper front teeth. If caught early in life, a simple frenectomy procedure may prevent these spacing issues.
Certain bad habits such as sucking a pacifier or thumb as a child can affect the alignment of one’s teeth. Tongue thrusting is another issue that can cause a space between the front teeth or other alignment issues with one’s bite.
Regardless of the reason behind a gappy smile – there are always treatment options available to close the gap and restore a person’s smile – that’s if they want to. Some people love having a gap between their teeth – it’s part of who they are, and they wouldn’t consider changing it. But for some individuals having a gap between their teeth is a source of embarrassment and frustration, causing someone to become self-conscious of their smile. Sometimes patients report gum tissue around the gap becomes irritated due to the lack of protection of properly aligned teeth – making biting in to certain foods not only challenging but painful.
What Can You Do If You’re Bothered by a Gap Between Your Teeth?
Here are some options:
Cosmetic Bonding – Performed in one visit to your cosmetic dentist in Oxnard, Ventura, this affordable procedure entails placing a composite resin over your affected teeth to close the gap. Expertly shaping and molding the material results in a natural-looking smile. The material we use is selected in a shade that matches your existing teeth so that no one else will be able to extinguish the difference.
Veneers – A more permanent option are thin-shelled veneers that are placed on the front portion of your teeth. Like cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers are made to blend in with your other natural teeth and look completely natural.
Crowns – Covering the entire exterior portion of your teeth, dental crowns may also be used as a means to close a gap between teeth. Generally, crowns are reserved for when a tooth has sustained extensive damage but may be an option for closing a gap between front teeth.
Cosmetic Dentistry in Ventura, CA
If you would like to learn more about how to close the gap between your teeth, contact Anacapa Dental by calling (805) 988-3317 to schedule a consultation and learn more about the services we offer. Anacapa Dental Art Institute is here to serve patients in the communities of Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, CA.