Teeth Spacing

Learn if orthodontics treatment is right for you if you have issues with teeth spacing

A woman with a nice smile after having teeth spacing treatment in Colorado SpringsBelow is useful information about cosmetic dental procedures by Dr. Tom Skelton at Skelton Orthodontics, PLLC to correct issues with unwanted teeth spacing:

We have all seen someone with spaces between their teeth or, teeth crowding each other by having moved into the spaces in the front or the back of adjoining teeth. These conditions are called malocclusion, which is the misalignment of the teeth placement. The good news is that both situations are very common and very treatable.

This article is devoted to the spacing between teeth, called diastema. The following general information is provided to help you understand the condition and to learn how it can be corrected by an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the corrective treatment of teeth usually requiring the use of braces or cosmetic caps, veneers, or bonding.

Causes for spacing between teeth

There are a number of reasons why gaps develop between teeth. Some of the most frequent causes are:

  • The majority of spacing between teeth is a result of heredity. Teeth that are not large enough to evenly fill in across the jaw line will create gaps between the teeth.
  • When there are a few teeth smaller than the others, it will leave room for the teeth to drift apart and leave gaps.
  • Missing teeth can develop into gaps as the remaining teeth have the opportunity to grow apart from each other.
  • Bone loss creates a weakened support system that allows teeth to shift and spread apart.
  • Continued thumb sucking beyond infancy places pressure on the front teeth. This pulls the teeth forward and creates gaps.
  • The mouth’s inner tissue, located inside the upper lip and spreads to the gum line above the front two teeth can grow too large. This excessive tissue between the teeth can stop the teeth from aligning together and leave a gap. This tissue is called the labial frenum.
  • Individuals who constantly press their tongues against the front teeth when they swallow create a continuous pressure point against the teeth that result in spacing.
  • Accidents, birth defects and unique situations can result in spaces developing between any two teeth.

Symptoms of present or pending teeth gaps

There are rarely any visible symptoms of pending teeth gaps in the very young. Any misalignment between teeth sizes and the jaw line can be detected as early as age 7 or 8. The gaps between teeth become more noticeable over time with potentially wider gaps occurring into adulthood.

Individuals with missing teeth may experience pain or discomfort as the remaining teeth can drift apart and create gaps.

Front teeth that have been pushed forward due to tongue thrusting or thumb sucking may become sensitive and cause pain while chewing or talking.

An overgrown labial frenum will keep the top front teeth from growing in a natural straight line and a gap will become evident.

Loss of bone structure or gum disease will weaken the jaw line and teeth support system which allows for teeth to drift apart. You may experience pain and sensitivity when eating or talking.

Diagnosis/evaluation of teeth spacing

During routine dental examinations, a dentist can determine if you have or are developing any spaces between your teeth.

Existing and developing gaps can be detected when you floss and brush your teeth. You can feel the extra space between teeth when you glide the floss into the areas between teeth.

You can also detect any developing gaps when you look in the mirror.

Pain and sensitivity associated with gum or bone disease may be an indicator of teeth movement.

Excessive labial frenum growth will place pressure against the top front teeth and prevent the two teeth from being together.

Types and lengths of treatment

Not all gaps between teeth require corrective treatment. Slight spacing that develops and does not cause any pain, sensitivity and does not distract from your appearance may not require special corrective treatment. Each and every diagnosis of teeth spacing is unique and personal.

A treatment plan will be discussed during a consultation with an orthodontist. The length of treatment is determined on the intensity of gaps and any underlining contributing factors.

In general, a slight gap, without any other issues, can be safely closed in a few months through the use of braces or invisaligns. Your orthodontist may also recommend the nightly use of a retainer after the braces have been removed. A retainer ensures that your teeth will not move back to their former positions and re-create gaps.

Larger gaps may require any length of time from six months to two years or more to correct with the use of braces. Wearing of a nightly retainer will most likely be required to maintain your new appearance.

Teeth spacing as a result of excessive labial frenum may require minor dental surgery to remove some of the tissue. This procedure allows for the closing of the frontal gap with braces and the use of a retainer after braces are removed. This process may take from six to 18 months.

If there is bone or gum disease, periodontal treatment may be required prior to corrective orthodontic treatment. A Periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the corrective treatment of tooth gum and bone conditions. From start to finish, periodontal and orthodontic treatments may take from 18 to 30 months for complete correction.

If your gaps are the result of missing teeth, your orthodontist may recommend dental implants, partials, or bridges in addition to the use of braces. A retainer may not be required after replacement of missing teeth and any brace work. The length of time for this type of treatment is from six to 24 months.

Slight gaps may be corrected with caps, veneers, or tooth bonding placed over or around the teeth. This will fill in the spaces and will not require the use of braces. These types of treatment will automatically correct the gaps between the teeth and will not require any recovery time. The length of these types of treatments is a few days.

Pain during treatment

It is expected that you will experience some pain for a few days after the braces are put on, and following each tightening session. How much pain you experience will depend on your personal pain threshold, but your orthodontist may prescribe a mild pain reliever to help you while your mouth adjusts to the new apparatus and tooth pressure.

If you have bone or gum problems that require treatment, there may be some pain following those procedures. The pain is a normal reaction to dental procedures and surgery in the delicate bone and gum areas. The pain generally dissipates after a couple of days and totally relieves the pain and sensitivity created by the original condition.

If you require labial frenum surgery, there will be the expected pain that follows a medical procedure. The pain may last a couple of days.

There is no expected pain associated with cosmetic dental work such as caps, crowns, or veneers.

Treatment cost

The cost to correct gaps between teeth can cover a wide area of consideration depending on the severity of the gaps, the number of gaps, and any associated dental problems. How much you will be expected to pay also takes several factors into consideration. Most insurance plans will not pay for cosmetic dental procedures or braces for the sole purpose of aesthetic appearances. But, dental insurance plans can include coverage for braces that will improve the oral structure and health of your mouth.

The costs for periodontal and orthodontic procedures are also determined by your dentists’ costs and the geographical location of your procedures; some areas have higher rates than others. You can discuss a payment plan with your orthodontist.

In general, the range for correct teeth spacing can be between $1,000 and $10,000, depending on what treatments and processes are employed.

With the advancements in orthodontics, there is no reason that you should endure the discomfort and any displeasure that you have with your teeth. Once your condition is diagnosed and corrected, not only will your mouth be happy but so will you with your new beautiful smile and there will be absolutely no pain.

Learn your options for teeth spacing treatment

Call 719-487-9303 to schedule a free evaluation with Dr. Tom Skelton, Colorado Springs orthodontist, to learn how orthodontics treatment might be able to help you with teeth spacing issues.