Treatment Options for Gapped Teeth
Patients who come to Dr. Peter Hellwig's San Diego restoative and cosmetic dentistry center can rest assured that they are in good hands with a skilled dentist. Dr. Hellwig always takes time to ensure that patients undergo the right procedures for their dental care needs.
It's with this in mind that we'd like to consider the dental treatments available to address tooth gaps, from minor spaces between teeth to major spaces left behind by missing teeth.
How Tooth Gaps Affect the Appearance of Your Smile
When you have gaps between your teeth, they can lead a fair share of self-consciousness where your smile is concerned. This is especially true if the tooth gap is prominent in your smile, or if the gap is the result of a missing tooth or teeth. A person may feel self-conscious about the tooth gap, leading to reluctance about smiling, laughing, and speaking, even around people whom the person has known for years.
How Tooth Gaps Can Affect Your Dental Health
In addition to affecting the look of your smile, tooth gaps can also have an affect on your dental health. A gap between teeth may be a sign of poor malocclusion, which may mean there's stress placed on the teeth due to poor overall alignment. This can make dental pain and teeth grinding (bruxism) more likely. If the tooth gap is related to tooth loss, teeth adjacent to the gap and potentially shift position, and patients will have to deal with bone loss and gum recession where the tooth gap is located as well.
Dental Bonding for Very Minor Tooth Gaps
When a tooth gap is very small and poses a minor cosmetic problem, dental bonding is a good option to consider for treatment. Dental bonding involves the use of a small amount of tooth-colored resin that is painted onto the surface of a tooth in order to build out a small amount of tooth structure. The resin is durable and looks natural after it has been carefully applied, set, and polished.
Dental bonding can also be used to treat chips, cracks, and stains.
Porcelain Veneers for Cosmetic Spacing Issues
When a gap between teeth is more serious yet is still predominantly a spacing issue, the best option to consider is the use of porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin shells of dental ceramic that are used to mask flaws in a tooth's appearance. The veneers themselves are semi-translucent, which helps them blend in seamlessly with a patient's actual tooth structure.
Porcelain veneers are quite versatile and are also used in cosmetic dentistry procedures to address chips, cracks, major stains, general tooth discoloration, asymmetries, and minor misalignments.
Orthodontic Care for Major Spacing Issues
For serious issues with gaps and spacing, the best option to consider is orthodontic treatment. By undergoing treatment with braces or other orthodontic options, careful tension and pressure is applied to reposition the teeth along the dental arch and enhance overall alignment. Whether a patient undergoes traditional therapy with braces or opts for an alternative to braces, the general principles of orthodontic care will remain the same.
Keep in mind that orthodontic care is generally easier to perform on younger patients than adults, although great results are still possible with adult orthodontics.
Restorative Procedures for Gaps Caused by Missing Teeth
If you are missing teeth, there are restorative options to consider that can fill the tooth gaps and allow you to smile, speak, and laugh as if you weren't missing any teeth at all. Removable appliances such as bridges and dentures can really work wonders, though fixed appliances that use dental implants can be especially effective for a number of patients as well.
During your consultation, we can go over the various options out there for replacing missing teeth and which might be best for your circumstances.
Learn More About Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry Options
To learn more about your treatment options for missing teeth and spacing issues, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Peter Hellwig and the team at the practice looks forward to seeing you and helping you have the healthiest smile possible.