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Many celebrities are known by the gap in their teeth (Madonna, David Letterman, Michael Strahan). They smile with confidence… they seem to just, “own it”. There are some cultures in which a space between teeth is considered very attractive. For many others, it may cause less smiling and embarassment due to a lack of self confidence in their smile. In reality, most gaps between teeth can be fixed quite easily using cosmetic dentistry and/or  simple orthodontics.

Gap Closure Procedure

The first step in any treatment is an evaluation by the dentist. Let him/her hear your concerns and evaluate the amount of space reduction needed to close the gaps between teeth. Common questions your dentist will ask themselves during this evaluation include:

-Will the closing of the gap cause any unforeseen bite issues?

-Using x-rays, are the roots of the teeth in good position and healthy enough for movement into proper position to close the gap?

-Will closing the gap cause new gaps between other teeth?

-Has the gap formed due to bone loss related to gum disease?

-Are the teeth large enough to fill the spaces, are other teeth missing?

-Was the gap caused by a habit, such as an involuntary tongue thrust issue, playing a reed instrument, biting pencils?

-Are the surrounding teeth and gums healthy and disease free?

Once a thorough examination is completed. Your dentist will discuss the various treatment options that are right for you.

Treatment Options

Dental Bonding. This cosmetic dentistry procedure involves the use of a tooth colored material to close the spaces. This  material adhesively bonds to the teeth to close the gap. If the gap is too large, the result may be oversized teeth. The other drawback to this is that bonding can break or stain over time. Some advantages to bonding are preserving tooth structure by not cutting the teeth down, correction of size and shape can be done quickly( This procedure can be completed in as little as an hour in the dental office),It may last a long time if taken care of properly.

Porcelain veneers or crowns. Closing the gap with porcelain is another great option. The nice thing about porcelain is that the color does not change or stain over time. The porcelain is also stronger than bonding allowing it to last a very long time. The downside is that the teeth generally need to be prepared by the dentist by removing surface enamel. The procedure also requires a second visit and the need to wear temporary veneers or crowns while the lab makes the final restorations.

Orthodontic Retainers. A simple orthodontic procedure that can give amazing results. These retainers use springs, wires, and screws to slowly bring the teeth together. This procedure could take a few months with weekly adjustment visits to see the results you are looking for.

Traditional Orthodontics. This includes brackets and wires. This may be needed when extensive gaps are present, teeth are missing, shifting has occurred in more than one location, the bite is off.

-Invisalign. This is a more modern form of braces. These are removable and made of clear plastic, and can also correct larger spaces.


You may choose to have” the gap” become a signature part of your smile. You may not. There is no shame in in either choice, but whatever you choose should be the decision that makes you feel happy and confident. Smiling is an important part of life and the way we show others how we feel. We should be able to smile with confidence! If it is something that has always bothered you it is worth exploring the dental options available to make your smile everything you want it to be.

Dental Hygiene Top 10:

1) Brush Properly. Believe it or not there is a wrong way to brush for proper dental hygiene.. It is important to brush after breakfast in the morning to remove plaque and bacteria that have accumulated over night (and from your morning meal) and to brush last thing at night because saliva (which helps to wash the cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up as we sleep. Toothbrushes should come with a small head and very soft bristles. Your dental hygiene all starts with proper brushing.

2) Floss your teeth at least once a day if not more. This will keep plaque from building up. Use dental floss to clean in between the teeth where plaque collects. Floss before you brush to remove any plaque or food particles. It is important to floss regularly because about 90% of cavities occur between teeth. Hold floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers and guide it between your teeth using a gentle sliding action. When the floss reaches where the tooth meets the gum, curve it into a V shape against the tooth and gently slide it up and down between the gum and the tooth, Do Not” Shoeshine” (rubbing floss side to side ) as this motion can cause notching in the root. Repeat for the other side and every tooth. An inter dental brush can be used for larger gaps.

3) Rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash twice a day. Make sure you do not swallow it. Discuss with your dentist which rinse is best for your oral condition and dental hygiene maintenance. Listerine is a great product with many combinations to suit almost every need. It is also one of the only rinses backed by years of scientific research.  The benefits of a mouthwash are that they can reach areas not touched by brushing alone. Rinse twice a day. Once in the morning and last thing at night and always after brushing.

4) Limit your sugary foods to avoid getting tooth cavities. Think about what you are eating. Do you want the best or worst foods for your dental and overall health? If you do choose a sugary or high acid food, chew a sugar free gum or xylitol gum. This will increase salivary flow in your mouth which will get rid of lingering sugar and neutralize acids faster. The bacteria will not cause decay in a clean neutral environment.

Dental hygiene

Dental Hygiene – Fluoride Toothpaste

5) Use a fluoride toothpaste. A fluoride tooth paste will help strengthen your enamel, making it tougher for bacterial acids to break down. Toothpaste also helps control plaque build up and keeps your teeth white and healthy!

6) Electric Toothbrushes. These are recommended by most dentists for their superior performance when compared to old fashioned manual brushing. Electric toothbrushes tend to have small brush heads that cup around the tooth and are faster and more efficient in cleaning areas of the mouth where bacteria and plaque collect. They are great for people who brush aggressively, as they brush for you. They are also easier if you have limited manual dexterity. Many also have a timer so you know you are brushing for the correct amount of time. Using an electric toothbrush will make all your dental hygiene efforts even easier to attain.

7) Eat your vitamins. Maintain a healthy diet to give your teeth and oral tissues (bone and gum tissues) the nutrients they need. Make sure you have enough B vitamins and calcium to keep your teeth strong! This is often overlooked in most dental hygiene programs.

Dry Mouth

Dental Hygiene – Biotene

8) Avoid Dry Mouth. Saliva provides an essential defense against tooth decay and periodontal disease by washing and rinsing the bacteria in the mouth. Patients who experience decreased salivary flow generally have increased dental health problems. Chronic dry mouth or xerostomia could be a side effect to certain medications or a symptom of a systemic disease. Your dentist can recommend several products to combat this problem. The leader in this category is Biotene. Without proper salivary flow or moistness in oral cavity your dental hygiene will suffer.

9) Clean Your Tongue. A major cause of bad breath can actually come from bacteria building up on your tongue with a high percentage of it accumulating at the back, making it hard to reach. Use a proper tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath.

dental hygiene - orabrush

dental hygiene – orabrush

A daily tongue scraping will help remove harmful bacteria. The use of a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush. A good example of a tongue scraper for dental hygiene is the orabrush.

10) Change your toothbrush out regularly. Did you know you should change your toothbrush every two to three months for good dental hygiene? If you do not then bacteria will collect on the bristles and you will transfer them back into your mouth. Also over time the bristles will become worn and ineffective. The same rules apply for electric toothbrushes. If your toothbrushes are wearing out before two months then you are probably brushing too harshly. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you the proper way of brushing to maintain proper dental hygiene. Always chose a toothbrush with soft not hard bristles as hard bristles can cause damage to the teeth and your gums.

Follow the steps above along with regular visits to your dentist and you will be on your way to having great dental hygiene.

dental hygiene

Dental Hygiene – Listerine