Q: Can you tell me what My options are for closing a gap between my front teeth?
A: There are a few options to fill in a gap between teeth. In Dentistry the term for a gap is a diastema. It is very common to have a gap between the two front teeth- think Lauren Bacall. Many people find this an attractive quality in a smile, but if the gap is large, or the teeth start to shift, some people opt to have the space closed.
In my office, the first thing I do is a “mock up” of how the patient would look with the space closed. I do this with my tooth colored filling material right in the patients mouth. It gives them a good idea of the final result. Then we can discuss what the options are. Basically there are two options. The first is direct bonding which uses matching tooth colored resin sculpted to the two teeth to create two wider teeth, thus filling the space. I have to say that this is the option that I do most of the time. It is relatively inexpensive, looks great, last a long time and it is easy, needing no numbing.
Sometimes though, the size of the restoration would be too large to support a simple bonding, so a lab created porcelain restoration is needed. To close very large spaces or to create more length a crown or veneer is necessary. Although these are much more costly than bonding, they are beautiful and very long lasting. Crowns are also indicated if the teeth already have large fillings because they will strengthen the teeth.
Another option to close spaces is orthodontics. Using traditional braces or a new product like Invisalign you can close spaces by moving the teeth back. This would eliminate the need for any bonding. This would be a very conservative and low maintenance way to close spaces. It might be the best option if there were a lot of spaces to close.
In childhood there is a muscle that attaches between the top front teeth. In some people this attachment is large enough to keep the front teeth separated. If you see this situation with your child you can talk to your dentist and see if she thinks it will lead to any future orthodontic issues. Sometimes that muscle (the frenum) needs to be “clipped” so that the front teeth will move together and there will be enough room for all the adult teeth to erupt normally.
As you can see, there are options to close spaces between teeth. It is best to make an appointment with your dentist for a consultation to see what the best option is for your smile.
Deborah Petronio, D.D.S.
Aurora Dental Care
92 Grey St.
East Aurora, NY 14052