Gaps in your smile aren’t just unsightly: They could be an early red flag that you’re at risk of losing a lot of teeth in a cascade effect as you age. Fixing your smile now can save you a lot of grief in the future.
At Fairfax Family Dentist in Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili delivers dental care including restorative work such as clear teeth aligners, dental crowns and bridges and dental implant restorations to fix gaps in your teeth and restore both functionality and aesthetics to your smile.
Why gaps in your teeth are an issue
Your teeth are set into the upper and lower jaw in two arches designed to fit together perfectly in a bite that allows for chewing, talking, and an attractive smile. A gap anywhere in either arch destabilizes it, and this can lead to a wide range of dental problems.
Small natural gaps
Each tooth in an arch supports and is supported by the ones on either side. When there is a gap, teeth can drift into the empty space, since there is nothing holding them firm in their allotted spot. This can mean your smile looks uneven and possibly crooked, as unanchored teeth can rotate as well.
Many people have small gaps simply because of a large jaw or teeth that came in unevenly. Small gaps in your smile can often be addressed with Invisalign®, a series of virtually invisible aligners that put constant pressure on your teeth, nudging them closer together and closing gaps in the arch for a beautiful, functional smile.
Larger gaps, like a spot where a tooth has been lost, are even more important to fix as soon as possible. When a tooth falls out, is knocked out, or must be extracted due to damage or decay, the root is pulled from its place in the jawbone.
Once the tooth is gone, the bone in the jaw under the empty socket starts to slowly dissolve. This means the teeth on either side can loosen as they drift into the gap, and they too will fall out, then the ones on either side of that, until your entire arch of teeth is gone.
Solutions for large gaps
A dental bridge can help keep teeth from drifting into the gap, and crowns supported by the bridge can be fabricated to look just like the lost tooth or teeth. However, a bridge won’t stop the underlying jawbone from dissolving.
A more permanent solution is a dental implant, which has a titanium post that is anchored into the gum by an oral surgeon. Once osseointegration is complete (the process of the jawbone fusing around the post), the dental implant acts as a tooth root.
Dr. Yalamanchili makes the custom crown restoration that goes on top of the implant, and your smile will look like you never lost a tooth at all. Below the gumline, your jawbone will stay strong and adjacent teeth won’t loosen and fall out due to you having lost a tooth.
Ready to fix the gaps in your smile? Call Dr. Yalamanchili at our office at 703-213-5313 or book your appointment online today.