When They Remember Your Tooth Gap, But Not Your Smile, it's Time to Act, Says Specialized Dentistry of New York

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If you have a noticeable space between your two front teeth (it's called a diastema), cosmetic dentistry can close the gap and improve your smile. A member of the Specialized Dentistry of New York team of cosmetic dentists and implant dentists (prosthodontists, periodontists and orthodontists) explains how it's done and why it could be medically advisable.

If you’re reluctant to smile because you feel that the space between your teeth detracts from your appearance, cosmetic dentistry can close the gap.

Some celebrities are known for the gaps in their front teeth (David Letterman, Lauren Hutton, Condoleeza Rice), and while there are people who consider it fashionable, many others with tooth gaps are self-conscious about their smiles. “If you’re reluctant to smile because you feel that your diastema (the medical term for the space between your teeth) detracts from your appearance, cosmetic dentistry can close the gap,” says prosthodontist Dr. Jonathan Zamzok, a member of the team of New York cosmetic dentists and implant dentists (prosthodontists, periodontists and orthodontists) at Specialized Dentistry of New York (http://www.sdnyonline.com).

Treatment options include veneers, composite bonding, orthodontics or a combination of dental therapies. The size of the diastema, the positions of both the adjacent and opposing teeth (occlusion) and the condition of the teeth are all considered in determining the most desirable treatment.

When a space between teeth is relatively small, cosmetic bonding is often used to fill in the gap. To properly and effectively close larger gaps, porcelain veneers -- or even dental crowns -- may be required. However, just closing a larger gap can result in teeth that are too wide and look disproportionately large. In those cases, it may be necessary to move teeth to aesthetically redistribute the spaces between them, to utilize multiple veneers or crowns or to lengthen the teeth with minor gum surgery so that the new wider tooth proportions are more natural.

“While most tooth gaps are closed to make a smile more attractive, there may also be compelling medical reasons to treat a diastema,” says Dr. Zamzok:

When gum (periodontal) disease causes bone loss around teeth, they may drift out of position and affect the bite (occlusion), causing the teeth to move even further out of position. Specialized Dentistry of New York “gap” patients are asked if they’ve always had a space between their teeth and if it has been increasing. A widening gap signals underlying problems. Treatment may include periodontal surgery, orthodontics and restorative/cosmetic procedures. There are times when a tooth -- or teeth -- may be lost and replaced with dental implants.

Some teeth that have migrated out of position can be easily repositioned by treating the underlying periodontal infection and adjusting the interference in the bite. Over time, this may allow the lips to push the teeth back into position.

“Among the other reasons to have diastemas treated,” says Dr. Zamzok, “is that they may act as food traps, which can cause both decay and discomfort, and some patients say the gap feels as wide as the Grand Canyon.”

About Specialized Dentistry of New York:
A one-of-a-kind dental practice, where an exceptional team of leading cosmetic dentists and implant dentists (prosthodontists, periodontists and orthodontists) provide the highest levels of cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and aesthetic restorative dentistry in a state-of-the-art Midtown Manhattan dental office equipped with its own on-site dental laboratory.

Committed educators, they are the “dentists who teach the dentists.” They hold leadership and teaching positions at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, the New York University College of Dentistry and at major regional hospitals. Their textbooks, hundreds of articles, lectures in more than 30 countries, and research studies have significantly contributed to the art and science of 21st century dentistry.

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Mary O'Connor

Sanford Teller
Sanford Teller Communications
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