Close Gaps in Teeth

Don't let holes ruin your smile. Ask your dentist about the many cosmetic procedures that can seal your smile.

Braces have many uses—correcting crowded or overlapping teeth, for example, or closing gaps. Braces can close gaps by applying pressure on the teeth to move closer together. Patients can choose from metal, plastic or ceramic brackets. These brackets will be glued to the teeth and will hold the wire that places tension on the teeth in place. Note that plastic and ceramic brackets are much less conspicuous in appearance. For an even more natural look, the patient can wear lingual braces, where the brackets are glued to the back of the teeth.

The duration of the orthodontic treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Typically, a patient wears braces for up to two years. Once the braces are removed, a removable retainer holds the newly shifted teeth in place for the first few months after treatment.

Like braces, Invisalign closes gaps by applying pressure on teeth until they shift closer together. The advantage of Invisalign is its unnoticeable appearance. The system uses a series of clear, removable aligning devices. Each aligner is worn for two weeks, then replaced with the next one in the series. A computerized image of your teeth, generated at the beginning of treatment, determines the course of action for you to get the teeth you want. You can remove Invisalign when you eat, drink, brush and floss your teeth—another factor contributing to its popularity among orthodontic patients.

Accelerated Orthodontics
Accelerated orthodontics, a recent addition to the field of cosmetic dentistry, uses a combination of lingual braces and periodontal surgery to achieve the same results as traditional orthodontics in up to a quarter of the time. This process requires that a team of dental specialists work together to achieve your ideal smile. Ask your dentist about this option. If you decide to try accelerated orthodontics, be aware of two things: 1) Some insurance policies do not cover the cost of accelerated orthodontics, and 2) the procedure can be quite painful.

Your dentist can seal gaps in your teeth by applying plastic resin bonding to the surface of your teeth. After grinding away part of your enamel, your dentist applies phosphoric acid. The acid creates tiny crevices in the tooth into which the resin sticks. Next, your dentist shapes the resin into the desired form. This is the stage where the resin is molded into such a way that seals gaps. He or she flashes a light on the tooth to harden the resin. A polish finishes the process.

Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers, thin ceramic casings fitted onto the tooth, can give you an all-new, natural looking smile. Because veneers are specially sculpted to give you the smile of your dreams, your cosmetic dentist can shape your veneers such that when placed atop your original teeth, the veneers will cover existing gaps. A cosmetic dentist will shave off part of your tooth enamel to create space for the casing, create a mold based on your existing teeth, and send this mold off to the lab where your custom-made veneers will be created. Once your veneers are ready, your dentist will cement them to your teeth. Your smile will be straighter and, depending on the shade you choose for your new smile, whiter.

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