- Dr. Barry Yu
GAPS BETWEEN MY TEETH
There’s this famous quote by Rocky Balboa talking about gaps, “she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.” It’s good for Rocky to be able to find someone to fill his gaps. When it comes to gaps between our teeth, it can also create a lot of inconvenience and potential health risks.
There are different reasons for us to have gaps between our teeth: teeth that are too small, jaws that are too big, tooth decay, teeth alignment, missing teeth etc. It can create inconvenience for us including appearances, further tooth decay, discomfort when food is stuck between those gaps, gum problems and even teeth shifting that can change the way we bite leading to joints problems.
So, should we try to close all the gaps between our teeth? Simple answer to that would be yes if possible and if it’s causing problems.
We should always restore missing teeth in our jaw if possible because missing teeth is leaving a gap in our jaw, and in the long run teeth adjacent to it will start shifting into the space that was once occupied by your tooth. Which can lead to other problems and more complicated treatments.
There are three ways to restore a missing tooth:
1. Dental Implant
2. Dental Bridge
Which one is the best? It depends. Everybody is different. Their body setup is different, the size of their teeth is different, and their tolerance can also be different. Some can tolerate having an appliance (like denture) in their mouth and eat with it, some can’t even tolerate the idea of having a minor surgery done in their mouth (dental implants). We really have to evaluate further into each individual case to be able to answer that question, however I probably should talk more about the pros and cons of each treatment in another blog entry.
If the gaps are simply due to tooth size and jaw size discrepancy, there are different ways to correct those. If the gaps aren’t too severe, we can use dental bonding to close the gaps. If the gaps are slightly bit bigger but not big enough for an extra tooth, we can also consider using veneer/crowns to make the tooth a little bigger to close the gaps. Sometimes if the discrepancy is too severe, where if we close the gap by bonding or veneers would leave us a tooth too big and doesn’t look appealing. We can consider using orthodontic treatment (like traditional braces or Invisalign) to close the gaps or move teeth to a better position before restoring them with bonding or veneers.
There are different approaches to treat different problems. However, it’s best to leave it to the professionals than looking for answers online. So, the moment you feel that something is not right especially in your mouth, consult with your dentist to have it checked out.