THIS INDIANAPOLIS PATIENT CAME IN WITH GAPS BETWEEN THE TEETH AND WANTED TO FILL IN THOSE GAPS AND MATCH COLOR TO EXISTING LOWER TEETH. TEETH WERE RESTORED WITH MINIMAL PREP VENEERS TO ACHIEVE AN ULTRA CONSERVATIVE AND NATURAL RESULT. (Picture was taken immediately after procedure. A Diode Soft Tissue Laser was used to achieve ideal tissue symmetry. It only takes a few days for minor tissue irritation to fully heal. )
A diastema is a gap or space between two teeth. There can be gaps between any two teeth, but it is particularly common between the upper front teeth.
Causes of gapped teeth
- Natural development – teeth usually have spaces between them when they first erupt. The arrival of the canine teeth often closes any gaps. A delay in any eruption or growth pattern can cause the potential formation of gaps/spaces
- Missing teeth – some children are born missing some teeth (either baby or adult) which can leave a gap/space
- Extra teeth – sometimes there are extra teeth that can prevent other teeth from erupting
- Small teeth – some children may have small teeth that allow for gaps/spaces
- Large jaws – some children’s jaws are relatively large compared to the size of their teeth
- Maxillary frenum - tissue can be in between the two maxillary incisors and prevent these teeth from coming together and causing a gap/space
- Lingual frenum – this is the frenum that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. In some cases of severe tongue-tie the frenum may cause a gap in the front teeth of the lower jaw.
Gaps in teeth may close by themselves
In some cases, a gap between the front teeth in the upper jaw closes by itself. When the baby teeth start to erupt (around six to nine months), the front teeth could have a gap and the frenum may be attached low to the gum. By the time the child turns one, the frenum may have shortened, and more teeth may erupt to close any gaps.
Issues of gapped front teeth
Some issues of gapped front teeth include:
- Self-consciousness – some people may feel embarrassed and not want to smile
- Tooth malalignment – a large gap between the front teeth may not leave enough room for the teeth next to the front teeth to come through. This can be not only a cosmetic concern for the patient but potentially a functional one as well.
Treatment for gapped teeth
Treatment options may include:
- Veneers – a veneer is a type of tooth covering. If the gap is small; veneers that are just a little bit wider than the natural teeth could be used to cover the gap. Veneers are permanently stuck to the tooth surface
- Orthodontics - traditional orthodontics or Invisalign/ClearCorrect can help correct gaps and spaces in teeth
- Removable appliance – such as a retainer of flipper/plate. This helps to fill in the gaps/spaces
- Frenectomy – surgery to remove the frenum/tissue that has caused the gap/spaces.
The case at the top of the page demonstrates how dramatically the smile can be improved after only a few appointments. One of the few negative comments Dr. Adams receives is why the patients didn't do the procedure sooner.
Please contact Timothy C. Adams, DDS, D.ACSDD, LVIM to schedule an appointment to discuss how he can give you the smile you've always wanted.