Closing gaps between teeth without braces

A tooth gap often becomes an aesthetic problem that can be very distressing. But what options are there to close a tooth gap? expert Dr Jochen H Schmidt has all the answers

Published: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 12:43 PM

Affected people often want to close their tooth gap for aesthetic reasons. Closing the gap makes for a more beautiful smile – and also relieves those affected mentally. Not only are classic braces suitable. Numerous other measures can also help to close the tooth gap.

What can cause tooth gaps?

“Tooth gaps are primarily caused by caries and periodontitis. In many cases, however, falls and accidents also lead to this," said Dr Jochen H. Schmidt, dental director of Invisalign London. Striking tooth gaps are also referred to medically as diastema (Greek: space), these are often genetically determined.

There are different types of tooth gaps:

-Real diastema: A hereditary tooth gap. "The cause here is a lip frenulum that has grown too deep," said Dr Smith. If the frenulum sits so low on the inside of the upper and lower lip and ends between the incisors, it is not possible to press them together. A gap appears.

-False diastema : “It is the result of a disproportion between the size of the teeth and the width of the jaw ”, said the dental expert. There is atrophy of the lateral incisor or both incisors. The incisors are so small that they don't fill their space. This creates a gap. However, one or two teeth can be missing completely (no attachment). Accidents and gingivitis are also possible causes.

-Medial diastema: A true diastema, but the dental arch is so large that the teeth do not completely fill it. In addition, the front incisors can also be stunted so that they do not fill the space.

Possible consequences: Do you have to fill the tooth gap?

A tooth gap does not necessarily have to be closed. Schmidt explains: “ If chewing function and articulation are not impaired, no dental treatment is necessary. In most cases, however, those affected decide to have a correction for purely aesthetic reasons.”

According to Get India News, gaps between teeth basically have a positive effect: “They allow us to brush our teeth better. However, if these gaps are too large, they can become a problem not only aesthetically but also in terms of health,” he explains.

This is usually the case when the tooth gap is not caused by teeth that are spaced apart, but is the result of the loss of a tooth. This should be replaced as soon as possible. “Otherwise there is a risk of disorders of the chewing function as well as incorrect loading of the jawbone and its degradation. In addition, gaps in the teeth often cause headaches and problems with pronunciation and breaking up food.”

Possible negative consequences of a tooth gap:

- Problems biting and chewing

- Pain in jaw joint and chewing muscle

- Formation of language errors

- Grinding, incorrect loading or overloading of the teeth

- Psychological consequences

Options for closing gaps between teeth without braces

Filling a tooth gap without braces usually results in oral surgery. There are the following options:

-Veneers: Veneers can help if the gaps are not too wide. These wafer-thin ceramic veneers are custom-made and attached to the outer tooth surfaces with a special adhesive.

- Titanium and ceramic implants: According to Upto Brain, screw-shaped titanium implants with different thread profiles are by far the most commonly used. The indestructible properties of this metal are known from aviation. Thanks to its exceptional tissue compatibility, ceramic is also considered an excellent implant material.

Closing a tooth gap without an implant

If you want to close your tooth gap without an implant, you have two alternatives. Either a bridge or an orthodontic space closure.

"The fixed bridge has proven itself millions of times over to close teeth gaps," said Dr. Schmidt. “As a rule, it consists of metal that is veneered with tooth-colored ceramic. Smaller versions are often made entirely of high-performance ceramics, which can also withstand high chewing forces in the area of the posterior teeth.” In addition to a pontic that spans the gap, two anchor crowns are required, which are placed on the teeth to the left and right of the gap. "Before, the teeth must be ground down like a normal crown," the expert continues.

But orthodontics is also an alternative to implants. A missing tooth does not have to be replaced with artificial teeth or tooth roots. A brace moves the teeth during orthodontic gap closure in such a way that a natural tooth can ultimately close the gap. This is possible not only in adolescents, but also in adults.

Closing gaps between teeth with braces

A tooth gap can be closed with removable or fixed braces. The respective advantages and disadvantages should be discussed with dental or orthodontic specialists. Young people often benefit from early use of braces. In this way, possible gaps and misaligned teeth can still be prevented.

As soon as there are several gaps, the diastema is more than five millimeters or the teeth are crooked, braces may turn out to be a better option than surgery.

Closing gaps between teeth with plastic: Invisalign as an alternative

Invisaligns are a particularly comfortable alternative to braces. This method was first used in the 1940s and then further developed in the 1970s. "In the case of tooth gaps and crooked teeth, modern dental splints (aligners) are an option," said Dr Smith. “In contrast to conventional braces, they correct misalignments almost invisibly."

Closing teeth gaps: composite treatment and tooth shaping

There is also the option of what is known as composite treatment (also: tooth shaping). A substance-sparing and cosmetic treatment of the tooth gap. Composites are white filling materials that are used, for example, in the dental treatment of a diastema. Consisting of a plastic matrix with ceramic fillers, the composite restoration can be used for front teeth and side teeth.

With this method, the tooth is widened with the composite used and thus aesthetically brought into a more beautiful shape. A particularly high quality of the result can be achieved by drying it out (e.g. with cotton rolls). In this way, those affected achieve better adhesion of the composite to the dentin and tooth enamel. Only one session is usually required for composite treatment, and it can also be performed under general anesthesia. The method usually achieves good long-term results.

Closing a tooth gap: costs

What costs do those affected have to reckon with? The amount of costs usually depends on the respective treatment method as well as on the corresponding position of the tooth gap to be closed. Prices can therefore vary greatly.

When does health insurance take over? Normally, it is a purely aesthetic problem, which is why the health insurance does not cover the costs for a dental gap treatment. You have to bear the costs yourself. However, there is one exception. It affects children under the age of 18: As long as the dentist decides that braces are suitable as a therapy method, the costs are covered by statutory health insurance. Those affected should obtain comprehensive information from their health insurance company.

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