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Dental Gap Filling: What are my options?

Dental Designs Clinic Singapore
22 May, 2023

Dental gaps, also known as diastemas, are spaces between teeth that can occur anywhere in the mouth, but are most commonly seen between the two upper front teeth. These gaps can occur due to various reasons, including-

  • Genetics: Some people have a natural gap between their teeth due to the size of their teeth or the size of their jawbone.

  • Missing teeth: Gaps can occur when a tooth is missing, causing the surrounding teeth to shift and create space.

  • Gum disease: Advanced gum disease can cause the gums to recede, exposing more of the tooth and creating gaps between the teeth.

  • Thumb sucking: Prolonged thumb sucking can cause the front teeth to protrude, creating gaps between them.

When considering dental gap filling, there are several options available to address the gap between your teeth, depending on several factors such as the size of the gap and your personal preferences.

If you experience sharp pain, sensitivity to hot or cold food, or notice that food frequently gets stuck in a filled tooth, it might indicate an issue with your filling. In such cases, consult your dentist promptly to avoid further complications such as a dental abscess.Diastema or gaps in teeth

1. Dental Bonding

Dental composite bonding is a popular choice for closing small gaps between teeth due to its affordability and effectiveness. However, it has a relatively short lifespan of a few years and may need to be replaced periodically. This simple procedure involves applying a tooth-coloured resin material to the teeth, which is then hardened with a special blue light. The resin is shaped to fill in the gap and blend seamlessly with the natural contour of your teeth.

2. Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin shells custom-made to enhance your teeth's appearance by bonding them to the front surface. They're great for closing small gaps, improving tooth shape, size, and color. However, dental veneers, while effective, are more costly than composite bonding and require irreversible removal of tooth structure.

 

3. Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over existing teeth to restore their shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns can be used to close gaps between teeth and improve the overall alignment of your smile.

Busy patients can opt for same day crowns! This is where dental crowns are molded, milled and bonded onto the tooth in a single appointment. We have our own in-house dental lab and technicians to ensure it is possible for dental crowns to be delivered on the same day.  

If you have any questions regarding Dental Crowns, feel free to reach out to us and we will get back to you! 

dental crowns and bridges

4. Invisalign or Braces

Invisalign or braces are effective for improving teeth alignment, including closing gaps. However, it may take longer to complete compared to other options. Invisalign or braces gradually move teeth into the correct position and can be particularly beneficial for larger gaps or when teeth alignment needs significant correction.

 

Is it necessary to close gaps in teeth?

Closing gaps in teeth is not always necessary from a medical perspective, but it is often done for cosmetic reasons. Ultimately, the decision to close a gap in your teeth should be made in consultation with a dentist. They can provide personalised recommendations based on your needs and goals, helping you achieve a smile that you feel confident and comfortable with!

Dental Filling Materials

  1. Amalgam Fillings: Made from a mixture of metals, including silver, mercury, tin, and copper, amalgam fillings are known for their durability and strength. They are typically used for filling decayed teeth, especially in the back of the mouth where chewing pressure is greatest. Despite their robustness, their metallic colour can be quite noticeable, which might be a concern for some patients.
  2. Composite Fillings: These fillings are composed of composite resin, a material that can be colour-matched to your natural teeth. Composite fillings are ideal for visible areas. They are suitable for repairing chipped or broken teeth and can also be used to fill cavities.
  3. Gold Fillings: Gold fillings are highly durable and can last for many years, making them a long-term solution for tooth decay. They are custom-made in a dental laboratory and then cemented into place. However, gold fillings are more expensive and their noticeable colour may not be suitable for everyone.

Dental Filling Procedures

  1. Direct Fillings: This procedure involves placing the filling material directly into the cavity in a single visit. It is commonly used for small to medium-sized cavities.
  2. Indirect Fillings: These fillings are custom-made in a dental laboratory and require at least two visits to the dentist. Indirect fillings include inlays, onlays, and partial crowns, which are used when a tooth has too much damage to support a direct filling but not enough to require a full crown.
  3. Temporary Fillings: Sometimes, a temporary filling is placed to protect a tooth before a more permanent filling is applied. This can be necessary after root canal therapy or when multiple dental visits are required.


Maintaining Dental Fillings

Good oral hygiene is essential to maintain dental fillings and prevent further decay. Regular visits to the dentist, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing daily can help keep your fillings and the rest of your teeth in excellent condition. It's also important to avoid chewing on hard objects and to be cautious with sticky or sugary foods that can contribute to tooth decay.

References

  1. Wang, F., Tang, Q., Xi, S., Liu, R., & Niu, L. (2020). Comparison and evaluation of the morphology of crowns generated by biogeneric design technique with CEREC chairside system. PloS one, 15(1), e0227050. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227050
  2. Spitznagel, F. A., Boldt, J., & Gierthmuehlen, P. C. (2018). CAD/CAM Ceramic Restorative Materials for Natural Teeth. Journal of dental research, 97(10), 1082–1091. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022034518779759