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What Causes a Gap in the Teeth? How an Orthodontist Helps

A person’s smile contributes to many things, including appearance, confidence, and self-esteem. Many children have gaps in their front primary teeth, but they tend to close by themselves as children grow. However, you might feel self-conscious about your smile if you have a gap in the teeth as an adult. 

Leading Hammond orthodontist Maldonado Orthodontics understands the frustrations and complications that sometimes accompany a gap between teeth. Here, we share the common causes of dental gaps and popular orthodontic treatments to correct them. 

Causes and Treatment of Gaps Between Permanent Teeth

Sometimes, gapped teeth are genetic. You could develop a space between your upper teeth due to an inherited condition like microdontia, which produces smaller-than-average teeth. With microdontia, your teeth and jaw sizes are disproportionate, creating dental gaps.

Bad habits could also lead to gapped teeth. When children suck their thumbs or pacifiers beyond age four, it could prevent their teeth from growing into their mouths correctly.

Gum or periodontal disease can also lead to a gap in the teeth as an adult. Poor gum health results in jawbone loss, which makes teeth less stable and prone to shifting. Long-term periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss and a wide space between teeth.

Now that you understand the primary causes of a gap in the teeth, here are some popular treatment options. 

Orthodontic Braces

Metal and clear orthodontic braces are the most common gapped teeth treatments for large spaces. You will likely need braces if you have other orthodontic issues like a crossbite or overbite in addition to a gap.

During the treatment, an orthodontist cements a bracket to each tooth and attaches them to a wire and elastics. The materials work together to slowly and gently shift misaligned teeth into proper alignment and eliminate gaps. 

Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional metal braces that produce similar results. Instead of wires, brackets, and elastics, you will use a series of removable aligners made of clear plastic to shift your teeth. You must wear them for at least 20 hours a day and change the tray every one to two weeks to move the teeth into their next position. 

Interproximal Reduction (IPR)

IPR is an extremely common yet simple procedure that can drastically improve the appearance of your smile. 

Interproximal Reduction, or IPR, is a common dental practice used to reduce three cornered spaces, which is a gap at the top of the teeth by the gums that does not extend all the way through the contact point. In three cornered spaces, your teeth are actually touching, but there is a gap by the gums. Also known as dental stripping, our dental professionals use this procedure to make the space go all the way through the contact. Therefore, when the space is closed, it eliminates the three cornered spaces.

Although IPR is a more common practice for patients with overly crowded teeth, we can use it to prepare your mouth for orthodontic treatment when you have significant three cornered spaces. Generally, IPR reduces a tooth’s width by 0.2 to 0.5 millimeters.

By reducing the size of your teeth before applying braces or clear aligners, we can help give your smile a more aesthetically pleasing look. To reduce the size of our teeth, we use a specialized tool to gently reduce the edges. Once finished, we apply a polish to smoothen out any rough surfaces and help prevent cavities or tooth decay.

The procedure doesn’t cause significant (if any) pain or discomfort. It also does not damage the teeth or cause any detrimental long term effects. 

Begin Treatment for Gapped Teeth Today

If you have a gap in the teeth, turn to Maldonado Orthodontics for quality orthodontic treatment. As a family-run orthodontic practice in Hammond, LA, we have over 30 years of experience transforming smiles with metal braces, clear aligners, and InBrace solutions.To learn more about our metal braces application or to schedule a free consultation, call Maldonado Orthodontics at 985-542-8719.

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