Closing the Gap With Invisalign®
Tooth gaps, or diastema, can be a cosmetic concern for many individuals. While some people may embrace the unique look of gapped teeth, others may feel self-conscious or embarrassed about their smile. Additionally, tooth gaps can cause oral health problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay, if left untreated. Fortunately, several orthodontic treatments are available to correct tooth gaps and improve your smile’s appearance and health.
What Are Tooth Gaps?
A tooth gap is a space between two teeth that can occur for various reasons. Common causes of tooth gaps include:
- Size and Growth Discrepancies: If your teeth are small compared to your jawbone, gaps can occur. This can also happen when your upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size, resulting in either an overbite or underbite, which can create spaces between teeth.
- Mismatch Between the Size of the Jaw Bones and Teeth: If the jaw is too large and the teeth too small, gaps can appear. Conversely, if the teeth are too large for the mouth, overcrowding can occur.
- Missing or Undersized Teeth: Some people may naturally have one or more missing teeth, or their teeth may be smaller than average, creating gaps.
- Habits and Other Health Issues: Certain habits, such as thumb-sucking in children, or the improper swallowing reflex, can cause tooth gaps. Gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss, may also result in gaps between teeth.
- Tissue Overgrowth: The piece of tissue that extends from the gum to the upper lip, known as the labial frenum, can sometimes overgrow, leading to a gap between the upper front teeth.
How Tooth Gaps Can Close With Invisalign
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that can help to close gaps between teeth. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually shift your teeth into the desired position.
If Invisalign is an option for treating your tooth gap, our dentist will start by taking impressions of your teeth to create a personalized treatment plan. Then, a series of custom-made aligners will be created to fit your teeth perfectly. You’ll wear each set of aligners for about two weeks before switching to the next set in the series.
By exerting gentle, controlled force on your teeth, Invisalign aligners gradually close the gaps. The duration of Invisalign treatment depends on the severity of the gaps and individual response to treatment, but it generally takes anywhere from 6 to 24 months.
Do I Need to Close a Tooth Gap?
Whether or not you need to correct a tooth gap largely depends on personal preference and any associated oral health issues.
- Aesthetics: If you’re uncomfortable or self-conscious about your tooth gap, you might choose to have it corrected for cosmetic reasons. The perception of beauty varies widely from person to person, and what one person might find attractive, another may not. It’s ultimately your decision if you want to change your smile for aesthetic reasons.
- Oral Health: Some tooth gaps, especially larger ones, can potentially increase the risk of gum disease, because they may expose the gum line to more bacteria and plaque. In some cases, a dentist might recommend closing the gap to improve oral health.
- Function: If the gap is causing functional problems – such as affecting your bite, or causing difficulty in chewing or speaking – then it might be necessary to consider having it corrected.
- Progression: If the gap is getting bigger over time, it may indicate an underlying issue, such as gum disease or habits like tongue thrusting. In such cases, it may be recommended to close the gap to prevent further issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tooth gaps can be both a cosmetic concern and a potential oral health problem. Food particles can get stuck in between gaps, leading to plaque buildup and potential gum disease or tooth decay. Additionally, gaps can cause teeth to shift, leading to bite problems or jaw pain.
Yes, braces are a common orthodontic treatment used to fix tooth gaps. Traditional metal braces use brackets and wires to gradually shift teeth into the desired position. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, can also be used to close gaps between teeth.
There are no proven home remedies to fix tooth gaps. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be unnecessary if the gap is small and not causing any oral health problems. However, it’s always best to consult with a dentist or orthodontist to determine the best course of action for your specific case.
Contact Aesthetic Dental Associates Today!
We understand how a tooth gap can impact your self-confidence and hinder your ability to express yourself with a beaming smile. Dr. Johnson and our team are ready to provide a personalized solution that caters to your needs.
From the moment you step into our office, we’ll work with you to design a customized orthodontic plan that fits your lifestyle and helps you achieve your desired results. Reach out to us today at our Seattle dental office by calling (206) 682-3888 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a brighter, more confident future.