Closing the Gap:
Two Factors to Consider when Closing Spaces between Teeth
As a cosmetic dentist, one of the most common complaints that I hear from patients is that they do not like the look of the spaces between their teeth. It’s a common problem, and one that we are well suited to address. However, the biggest challenge to treatment is educating the patient on which route is best for their specific case.
There are two ways to close spaces between teeth: (1) move the teeth with orthodontics, or (2) make the teeth wider with veneers. What I have found is that typically younger patients are looking to close these spaces with orthodontics, while older patients are hoping to address the problem with veneers. This is very much to do with the stigma that braces have for older patients.
While there are many factors to consider when closing spaces between teeth, age is not one of them. There are two main factors that must be considered before recommending a treatment plan:
- Is the tooth proportion correct?
If the existing tooth structure is properly proportioned, then closing the space by making teeth wider is not an appropriate treatment plan. This may result in the teeth being wider than they are tall and looking like Chicklets.
- How long has the space been there?
If the space has been there for less than five years, this may indicate a larger problem that must be addressed before any cosmetic changes. This can include TMJ problems, clenching, grinding and periodontal disease. Addressing only the teeth’s esthetic properties may result in the space coming back.
Based on the answers to these two questions, a skilled cosmetic dentist can typically determine the best course of treatment to close any spaces. If orthodontics is the best option to close the spaces, veneers may still be used to improve the overall appearance of the teeth following braces or Invisalign. A mockup of the teeth can also be completed so that the patient can see how their smile will look before having the veneers placed.
To find out which treatment plan is best for you, call us at (813) 689-4226 and schedule a consultation today.