The Proper Way to Treat Gap Teeth
A very popular YouTube video by a young girl named Shalom DeSota was behind the do-it-yourself (DIY) gap bands trend. After the video had gone viral, teenagers all over the world attempted to close the gaps between their teeth using an orthodontic rubber band or any other elastic they had on hand.
DeSota received a lot of negative feedback from both concerned parents and dental practitioners. The trick might have worked for DeSota but her inexperienced viewers risked damaging their oral health by following her lead.
How are Gaps Formed?
Dentists call the gaps between the teeth a diastema. Most common occurrences of diastema are in the upper front teeth but patients may have wide teeth gaps in the inner molar area as well.
The difference in the size between a patient’s upper and lower jawbone is a major factor in diastema. When jawbones overlap, it causes teeth to either crowd or spread widely apart, leaving gaps between teeth.
The size of each tooth also plays a role in the development of a tooth gap, usually with the upper lateral incisors which are the teeth next to your two upper front teeth. The overlarge molars will cause teeth to crowd each other while smaller ones create spaces in between.
Another common cause for diastema is an enlarged labial frenum. Dentists use the labial frenum to refer to the extended small patch of tissue that hangs from your inner upper lip and ends at the gum right above your front teeth. When the labial frenum grows between the two front teeth, it blocks the natural closing and results in a gap between them.
Other causes for the gap tooth include misshapen teeth, a habit of thumb sucking and incorrect swallowing reflexes. Any oral habits that push the teeth forward will create a gap.
Patients cannot prevent a gap from forming between their teeth on their own. What they can do, instead, is maintain their oral health by taking care of their teeth and gums. Regular flossing and brushing prevent infections, bacterial growth and periodontal disease.
Those who have a tongue thrust habit that worsens diastema symptoms should learn to push their tongue up against their palate when swallowing. When they break the habit, they may prevent their gap tooth from widening.
Although gap teeth are not a severe dental problem, it may still require patients to seek orthodontic and restorative treatment. In our London practice, we offer several treatments for diastema:
Our Inman Aligners straighten crooked and wide-spaced teeth in 8-12 weeks. Unlike Invisalign, the Inman Aligner uses only one aligner to complete all teeth movements.
ClearSmile Braces work faster than traditional braces because they focus on dental issues with the front teeth. They are clear braces that suit busy lifestyles. Patients will notice that their teeth have better alignment within a short period.
Our Cosmetic Composite Bonding treatment is favoured by many patients with diastema. We sculpt and polish composite resin to match your teeth for a seamless look. Although this treatment is the least invasive of the three, it is just as effective.
If you’re seeking treatment for your gap teeth, schedule an appointment with Fresh Dental today.