Singers Madonna and Elton John, former professional football player Michael Strahan, and actress Anna Paquin. What do all of these talented celebrities have in common? If you guessed gapped teeth, then you’re correct. For some, a small gap between the front teeth may not be an issue. But if you’re wondering how to fix gaps in between your teeth, your options range from orthodontic to cosmetic solutions.
Invisible Dental Aligners
Invisible or clear dental aligners may be one of the most convenient and aesthetically pleasing ways to correct minor orthodontic issues, including gaps between teeth. They are commonly made of a thin thermoplastic polymer material and work by gently applying pressure to specific teeth to move them into the desired position.
Specifically, dental aligners often come in multiple sets of trays, and each set moves the teeth in very small increments. These trays can be sent directly to your door. They must be worn a certain number of days, as directed by your supervising dental professional, to close the gaps between the teeth.
“To correct a gap between the teeth, one must first assess the cause of the gapping,” Reem Abdulrahman, DMD, a New York-based orthodontist at Tend, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “If it is due to a malposition of the teeth, then dental aligners can fix a small gap by applying orthodontic forces on both teeth that are adjacent to the gap to create bodily movement of the teeth and close the gap,” Abdulrahman says.
Veneers function like false nails, but for the teeth. They are thin, porcelain devices that are custom-fittted and glued over the entire front side of a tooth. With veneers, a very small amount of the natural tooth is removed in order to preserve a natural-looking appearance, according to the Mayo Dental and Impact Clinic.
“Veneers are made by your dentist and a dental lab to fit over your front teeth, and they can be shaped to close any pre-existing gaps,” Todd Bertman, DMD, a New York-based general dentist and founder/owner of Advanced Dental Arts, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to Bertman, veneers offer patients the ability to completely customize the cosmetic results they are looking to achieve with their dentist. This is because veneers are individually designed by the dental laboratory using specific instructions from the dentist, along with an impression taken of the patient’s mouth after the dentist has prepared the surface of the teeth to support the veneers.
“This option is appealing to some patients because it is a permanent solution that addresses all of their cosmetic concerns, including closing gaps in their teeth, and the results can be achieved in a much shorter time period than traditional orthodontic treatment,” Bertman says.
Like veneers, dental crowns may be a cosmetic alternative for correcting small gaps between teeth.
“Crowns are porcelain material that cover the entire surface of the tooth and can be used in a manner similar to that of veneers to close gaps in between teeth,” Tiffanie L. Garrison-Jeter, DMD, a Tennessee-based cosmetic dentist at Definition Dental and Wellness Spa, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Unlike veneers, however, crowns can result in some loss of tooth structure.
“For crowns to fit properly, some of the tooth and gum are removed,” Christine Songco, RDH, a California-based registered dental hygienist, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to Garrison-Jeter, your dentist will take impressions or a scan of your mouth so that the laboratory can create a model of what your teeth will look like once the gaps are closed with either veneers or crowns.
Dental retainers are custom-made oral devices that help keep teeth in alignment following the removal of braces. A removable dental retainer may also help correct minor orthodontic problems, such as slightly crooked teeth or small gaps between teeth, according to Cleveland Clinic.
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