Gaps between the teeth can be a distinctive look, but some people might not appreciate that particular distinction. These gaps are typically a cosmetic concern, and if the functionality of your teeth has been affected, your dentist will likely suggest treatment as soon as the issue is noted. Closing the gap between teeth to improve the appearance of your smile can be achieved using three different methods, depending on the width of the gap and the number of teeth that are involved.
1. Large Gaps May Need Orthodontic Treatment
When the gap is in fact gaps, affecting multiple teeth, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist. While cosmetic dentistry can offer efficient ways to close small to moderate gaps, when multiple teeth need to be realigned, it's likely that you'll require orthodontic treatment. This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll need a full set of braces. Your goals and the most appropriate way to achieve them will be discussed, and your solution could be found with transparent aligners or lingual braces attached to the rear of your teeth — both of which are more subtle than traditional braces.
2. Moderate Gaps Can Benefit From Dental Veneers
For smaller, localised gaps, such as those between your two upper or lower incisors, cosmetic dentistry can provide the desired results with a minimum amount of fuss. Moderate gaps will benefit from dental veneers. These are small porcelain shells attached to the outward sides of the teeth in question.
While perfectly colour-matched to your teeth, the width of the veneer will extend into the gap beyond the base of the natural tooth it's attached to. When two veneers are placed in this way, the conspicuous gap between the two affected teeth has been eliminated. Veneers require some preparation work, involving the removal of some of the tooth's surface area to accommodate the restoration. This prevents your teeth from appearing larger, avoiding the appearance of buck teeth.
3. Small Gaps Can Be Corrected With Dental Bonding
Even smaller gaps can be closed by dental bonding. This is when the tooth's surface area is expanded with composite dental resin, similar to what is used to fill cavities. Bonding is most effective when the required modification is small, and your dentist may be able to apply a small amount of the composite resin to the sides of each tooth, expanding its width, which then closes the gap between the teeth. This will not be obvious, and your dentist will be able to sculpt the resin so that it seamlessly appears to be part of the tooth's overall structure, instead of an obvious extension.
Large gaps affecting multiple teeth can require a commitment to orthodontic treatment, but small to moderate gaps can generally be corrected in a cosmetic dentistry clinic.