Not everyone is born with a perfect set of teeth. Many people suffer from diastema, or a gap between teeth. But just because a person doesn’t have a perfect smile, doesn’t mean they have to live with it forever. Patients with gapped teeth can rest easy. Advances in cosmetic dentistry have given rise to a new solution that can help close gaps between teeth. Instead of using traditional braces, patients with diastema can be treated using Invisalign®.
What Causes Diastema?
Many things can cause spaces between teeth. Though diastema could be a genetic issue, it can also occur over time due to disease or habits. The most common causes of gapped teeth include:
- Teeth too small for jaw bone - This is the most common cause of diastema. When the size of the jaw is too big for the size of the teeth, gaps will develop between the teeth.
- Missing teeth - Sometimes people are born without a permanent tooth.
- Oversized labial frenum - The piece of tissue that attaches the upper lip to the gums is called the labial frenum. When this tissue is oversized or continues to grow after birth, it can force teeth to separate, leaving a space.
- Thumb sucking - Children or infants that develop the habit of thumb sucking could inadvertently pull their teeth forward, leading to gaps between teeth.
- Incorrect swallowing reflex - Normally, the tongue should press against the palate when a patient swallows. However, patients with a “tongue thrust” push teeth forward when they swallow, which causes teeth to separate over time.
- Gum disease -When patients are diagnosed with gum disease, it can result in a loss of bone. When the jawbone deteriorates, teeth become loose and can move out of place. This results in gaps.
Treatment with Invisalign
Fortunately, Invisalign® can close gaps between the teeth and help patients achieve a perfect smile. Invisalign® aligners act like invisible, removable braces. Because they are made from clear plastic, they’re hardly noticeable and cause less pain than braces. They’re the best way to treat gapped teeth discreetly and effectively.
To make aligners for patients with diastema, dentists must take 3D images and X-rays of patients’ teeth. When the images are developed, the dentists create personalized treatment plans that map out the desired movement of the teeth. Then aligners are crafted specifically for each stage of the realignment process. Usually, patients will use a different set of aligners every two weeks and must wear them for at least 20 hours a day. Each set moves specific teeth gradually with controlled force. As a result, the aligners pull teeth together and close the gaps over time.
On average, Invisalign® treatment can take about 12 months for adults. For teens, the process might take a littler longer.
If you’re a patient with diastema or want to know more, contact the team at Dental Associates of New England today. Our dentists have served thousands of patients in the Boston area for more than 20 years. Learn more about how our team can help you get the smile you want with Invisalign®!