Gapped teeth might not seem like a big deal. After all, even some celebrities flaunt gaps between their front teeth — so how bad can they be?
Celebrity “trademark” status aside, gaps between your teeth can actually be pretty bad. In fact, everyone who has gapped teeth — even celebrities — can have an increased risk of serious oral health issues, including future tooth loss.
As a leader in both cosmetic dentistry and full mouth rehabilitation for patients in Toledo, Ohio, Timothy Tomase, DDS, and the team at Tomase Dental Care help patients close the gaps between teeth, improving their smiles and their oral health. Here’s what Dr. Tomase wants his patients to know about the importance of treating gapped teeth.
The effect of gapped teeth on smile aesthetics is obvious — and visible. But what a lot of people don’t know is that gaps can take a toll on your oral health, too.
When your teeth are evenly spaced, it’s easier to care for them with brushing and flossing, eliminating bacteria, food particles, and sticky plaque that can eventually cause gum disease or cavities.
Gaps create additional space between your teeth — space that can quickly become a home to trapped food particles, plaque film, hard tartar deposits, and colonies of disease-causing bacteria.
In addition to increasing the risk of decay and disease — and eventual tooth loss — gapped teeth can interfere with the way you bite and chew. When your teeth are aligned, the strain on your jaw joints is balanced between each side. Even a small gap can throw this balance off, resulting in excess strain and an increased risk of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
Many gaps happen as a result of the way your teeth emerge from your gums, but other times, gaps can be caused by gum disease or even habits, like tongue thrusting. Dr. Tomase offers different treatments for tooth gaps, depending on the size of the gap and other factors.
Dental veneers can be a great solution for smaller gaps, whether you have one gap or several. Veneers are thin covers placed on the surface of a tooth.
The veneer is shaped and tinted to match your other teeth, and once in place, it hides the gap and fills the space between unevenly-spaced teeth. Made of beautiful, durable porcelain, veneers typically require two office visits and last for many years.
SImilar to dental veneers, dental bonding closes the gap between two teeth to improve the aesthetics of your smile. It’s also used for smaller gaps, and application takes a single office visit.
Bonding uses a special, tooth-tinted material that’s applied on a single office visit, then hardened and shaped. The material isn’t as durable as porcelain, and it stains more easily. Still, it’s less costly, which can make it a good solution for tight budgets.
Invisalign aligners are a state-of-the-art orthodontic system used to straighten teeth and align bites. The clear, almost-invisible aligners can be a great solution for multiple gaps and gaps that interfere with your bite alignment.
Invisalign treatment takes less time than traditional braces for most patients. In addition to improving the way your smile looks, Invisalign also improves bite function, helping avoid serious problems, like TMJ.
A single, small gap may not need to be treated — as long as you’re willing to commit to the extra care that’s needed to prevent cavities and gum disease. For most people, closing up gaps is a more convenient and effective way to maintain their oral health and improve their smile aesthetics in the bargain.
To learn more about treatments for gapped teeth or to have your gap evaluated, call 419-670-6537 or book an appointment online at Tomase Dental Care today.