How to close the gaps between teeth is one of the most commonly asked questions by patients.
Of course the answer is different for each individual and depends on a number of elements that are particular to that patient. Factors that affect the type of treatment we would recommend are:
- How large is the gap?
- Is the gap a space between 2 adjacent teeth or due to a missing tooth?
- What is the desired cosmetic outcome for the patient?
- What is the patient’s time frame for completion of the treatment?
- What is the overall health of the mouth and the adjacent teeth?
Here are some of the common solutions to Fix Gaps between Teeth
- Cosmetic bonding or composite veneers
If the gap between the two teeth is very small, closing the gap with composite bonding provides a quick solution to the problem. Bonding is the least invasive solution to closing a gap. However, the drawback with bonding is that it does not last very long and will eventually need to be redone. Bonding material is also susceptible to staining and may discolour after some time
Veneers are commonly used to close a gap between two front teeth (diastema), but if the gap is too large, the veneers would be disproportionately wide compared to the existing natural teeth. This might make the smile look unnatural, and let’s face it, one of the aims of cosmetic dentistry is to create a beautiful and natural look.
Veneers are a more robust solution than composite bonding; however, the teeth need to be prepared, which means that some of the tooth must be removed (shaped) to allow the veneers to be fitted over the front surfaces of the teeth.
The most conservative and minimally invasive way to close a small gap is orthodontic treatment, either using conventional fixed braces, or invisible braces such as the Invisalign system.
There are many different types of braces available but they all serve one purpose; to apply pressure to the teeth to encourage them to move closer together to close the gap.
The main drawback of this method is that it takes time and you could be undergoing treatment for many months, versus veneers or bonding where the solution is instantaneous.
A Quick Review of the orthodontic treatments Available
Fixed orthodontic braces
Normally used with young children, Orthodontic braces are the traditional way that teeth are straightened and gaps reduced.
With fixed orthodontic braces, metal wires are attached to the front surfaces of the teeth with brackets. These brackets and wires are progressively tightened over time, applying gentle pressure to the teeth and encouraging them to move into a straighter position.
The time taken depends upon how much movement of the teeth is required, we will be able to advise you about this following an initial examination.
A wide variety of brackets and braces systems is now available, including smaller tooth-coloured ceramic brackets and friction-free braces such as the Damon system.
Lingual braces are similar to standard wire braces but they are fitted to the inside (back) surfaces of your teeth and so are not visible from the front. It should be noted they can be uncomfortable and difficult to get accustomed to but they provide a perfect solution to moving your teeth without anyone noticing. Unlike invisible braces, they can even be used to correct severe orthodontic cases.
If you feel that having visible wires on your teeth is too embarrassing then the Invisalign system can achieve the same teeth-straightening results without the need for wires in many cases.
Invisalign uses a system of clear aligners that look like transparent gum shields. Over time your teeth are slowly moved into their desired position.
The aligners are changed regularly and we will discuss the schedule with you during your initial appointment.
The advantage of Invisalign over metal braces is that you can remove them to clean your teeth and eat. Invisalign is an increasingly popular treatment for the straightening of adult teeth.
The Inman Aligner is a cross between the invisible braces and metal braces systems. It is not as “invisible” as Invisalign (since it has metal components) but it relies on a removable aligner that moves the teeth by applying force to them over time.
The Inman Aligner is often quicker than Invisalign, only one appliance is required for the entire treatment, and it is more affordable.
Damon Braces are a “friction-free” alternative to conventional treatment with braces. They do not have any elastic ties and so cause less irritation, they are more comfortable and provide faster tooth-straightening results than treatment with conventional braces.
The Six-Month Smile is a new orthodontic treatment that uses tooth-coloured brackets and wires and focuses on moving the teeth that you see when you smile (rather than focusing on the bite and moving all the teeth). It uses special nickel wires to move the teeth into the desired position. Treatments that would usually take 18 months to two years are completed in as little as six months.
Gaps due to missing teeth
If your gap is due to a missing tooth, veneers or orthodontic treatment would be inappropriate. The missing tooth needs to be replaced, both for aesthetic but also functional reasons, such as the bone where the missing tooth was, may deteriorate making future options difficult.
A restoration would keep the gum and bones healthy and prevent the teeth on either side of the gap from “shifting” towards the gap in an unnatural way.
Solutions to replace a gap due to missing teeth could be a partial denture, a dental bridge or a dental implant.
The Best Dental Solution for You – Free Consultation
As you can see, every individual’s dental issues are specific to them and there are many solutions. It is definitely best if we discuss them together so we can work out what is the best option for you.
During our discussion, we will take into account your current goal but also what you may want to do in the future and of course the time frame for each solution and how that fits in with your goal. Finally, it is important to discuss the cost of the various solutions and your budget. Sometimes an inexpensive short term option like bonding can buy you the time you need to prepare for the best long term solution or you may decide to use our Dental Financing Payment Plan.
To assist you with this, we are happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss your problem and the options you have. Just call us on 02 9569 3378 and ask for a free Consultation to discuss your Gaps.
Teeth Straightening for Crooked Teeth?
While you are here, many people are born with crooked teeth. In some cases, perfectly straight teeth can become crooked with age as the structure of your mouth changes, or due to tooth loss and movement of the remaining teeth.
Teeth straightening can be achieved by a variety of different cosmetic dental techniques. Not everyone needs to have fixed wire braces for a perfectly aligned smile.
For example, Porcelain veneers do not actually straighten your teeth, they give the illusion of a perfectly aligned smile. Provided your teeth are not severely crooked, porcelain veneers can be placed over the front surfaces of your teeth to make them look straight.
Veneers are sometimes referred to as “instant orthodontics” because straight teeth or other imperfections can be improved in as little as a single visit to the dentist (compared to traditional braces or Invisalign, which can take many months, and in some cases, a couple of years).
The added benefit of veneers is that they can also improve the colour and shape of your teeth. The downside is, as mentioned above, some of your naturally healthy tooth will need to be re-shaped for the veneer to affix to; also, veneers do not last forever and will eventually need replacing.
For your Free Gap Tooth Consultation Call 02 9569 3378