Tooth Tips for Later Life

When Removing Tartar Reveals a Gap: What to do when a Dental Cleaning Leaves a Gap between Your Teeth

Part of your dental hygiene routine should include a dental cleaning and scaling at least twice a year in order to remove tartar build-up from your teeth. However, many people simply don't have the time or the inclination to have their teeth cleaned as often as that. What may then happen is that when they finally do get around to having their teeth cleaned, they find that there is a gap between their teeth that wasn't there before.

So how is this happening? Why is there suddenly a gap where there was none before?

Tartar May Have Closed the Gap

If this was your first cleaning then over time, as the plaque build-up on your teeth hardened into tartar, any gaps between your teeth may have shrunk due to tartar build-up.

Having become used to not having a gap then, once your dentist removed the tartar between your teeth, it may have seemed like a new gap had appeared when in fact, the cleaning merely revealed the original gap.

You May Not Have Had Your Teeth Cleaned in a While

The same can be true if you haven't had a dental cleaning in a few months to a year. Likewise, if you don't always have time to brush your teeth as much as you should, (i.e. twice a day), then every 10 days a new layer of tartar will form closing the gap even further.

Your Last Hygienist May Not Have Removed all the Tartar

In some cases, inexperienced hygienists may not fully remove all tartar during a cleaning. If this has happened more than once, it may seem as if your current hygienist filed away some of your tooth when in fact it was simply a build-up of tartar.

How Can Large Gaps be Treated?

If after a dental cleaning, you are dissatisfied with gaps between your teeth there are several cosmetic dentistry procedures that can fix the problem. A simple cosmetic procedure referred to as dental bonding can be used to fill gaps between teeth with composite resin. In 30 minutes to an hour, your dentist can fill the gap with this tooth-coloured resin, restoring your confidence in your smile once more.

Porcelain veneers are also an option, however, this method may require up to two weeks for the porcelain shells to be created especially for your teeth. This method also involves the removal of up to around 0.5mm of enamel to make room for the veneers.

In a few years, as you age, the gap between your teeth should close naturally as your teeth move forward. However, if you aren't willing to wait that long, speak to your dentist about the cosmetic options available to you.