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Teeth can fall out for a variety of reasons, whether through inadequate care or some kind of accident. Regardless, many times patients walk into an orthodontist’s office and wonder: any chance that my teeth will move and close the gaps caused by the two teeth I lost?
While it might seem like a long shot, braces are actually very handy in closing gaps between teeth, or in some cases, actually widening them, if necessary. The slow, steady pulls of braces are effective in pulling teeth into various positions, which with the help of a retainer will hold their new position permanently. In the case of gaps in teeth, braces will help to close that gap.
Why Do Gaps Form?
Believe it or not, having a space in between teeth is actually a normal process. As the teeth come in, there is naturally a small gap between them to reduce friction and to allow them to come indirectly. It’s when a gap is larger than a few millimeters that teeth are generally considered “gapped.”
This can happen for a variety of reasons, but here are some of the most common:
- Natural Causes: For better or for worse, it may be that gaps in teeth naturally form because of the way the patient’s teeth come in. This isn’t necessarily an indicator of any kind of major problem, but it does need to be fixed in order to minimize later gapping.
- Additional Teeth: What looks like a gapped tooth in the mouth may instead be an additional tooth that is hiding underneath the gums, such as a canine. If it’s a late developer, the tooth will eventually come in and move the other teeth out of the way, but braces can still help move it along.
- Disproportionate Teeth: Instead of missing teeth, all of them may actually be present, but a few may be significantly smaller than the others. Alternatively, the patient may simply have a large jaw that makes the teeth appear smaller.
- Lingual Fraenum: Even if you’re not familiar with the name, you will most likely recognize this as the skin that holds the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. If the lingual fraenum is too large, it could create a gap.
- Physical Accident: If the patient has had an accident of some kind, it’s possible that the teeth could have been lost through some sort of trauma. These are the people who most often walk in asking, “Two of my teeth are gone can braces fix the gaps?” In some cases, the gap can be restored, but if it’s too large, it may be a challenge.
Why Are Gaps a Problem?
For most people, the idea of having gaps in your teeth is nothing more than a visual problem. People may be embarrassed at the idea of missing teeth, and because of that, tend to walk into the orthodontist’s office saying, “How can I close the gaps made by my two missing teeth?” While two full teeth may be a challenge, smaller gaps can absolutely be closed if the patient requests it.
Beyond simple cosmetic improvements, gaps in teeth pose a significant threat to the mouth because it leaves the gums unprotected. Teeth are designed to chew food, no matter how hard or soft, protecting the gums in order to provide other functions. Without teeth, there is a significant danger to the gum area which can cause problems later in life.
Furthermore, if there is a space left open because of a gap in the mouth, it can cause misalignment in other teeth that may come in later, especially within children under twelve years old. If your child is missing teeth and it’s not because of natural reasons (like simply falling out), it’s a good idea to seek out an orthodontist to get them corrected.
What Are the Options for Someone with Missing Teeth?
Even though orthodontists have been asked by people all the time with the question, “Two of my teeth are gone can braces fix the gaps?” the answer is, it depends. If the patient is a child and the teeth are not that large, it may be possible to bring the teeth together or simply wait for the adult teeth to come in alongside it. If the patient is an adult, that might be a little more difficult.
Still, for someone who wants to know, “How can I close the gaps made by my two missing teeth?” there are a few options that exist either instead of, or alongside, braces.
- Implants: A metal (usually titanium) pole is placed into the space of the missing teeth and a cosmetic “tooth” put on top. This can be a temporary or long-term measure, but it can give the appearance of normal teeth.
- Bridge: In some cases, the teeth around the gap can be ground down to allow for a bridge on top which bridges over the missing teeth area.
- Plate: Rather than replace the tooth altogether, an orthodontist may choose to put a metal plate in between the teeth to keep the space open for an eventual restoration or more permanent substitute.
Every once in a while, a patient will ask about the possibility of the teeth simply moving back into position saying, “Any chance that my teeth will move and close the gaps caused by the two teeth I lost?” Orthodontists sympathize greatly with patients who have lost teeth for whatever reason, so they understand the urgency behind the question.
Unfortunately, unless the gap is small enough, it’s not normally possible for teeth to move and cover up the space that was lost since doing so would create too much space and put the mouth at risk and make it look uneven against the top teeth.
Not that a patient would even want to in the first place. If a gap exists, it needs to stay roughly where it’s at to allow for more permanent measures to take places, such as implants or bridges. While not ideal, they still serve roughly the same purpose as regular teeth and can give the patient a boost in confidence as well as prevent further health issues.
Is It Possible to Close the Gaps Where I Lost Two Teeth?
201 West Washington
Benton, IL 62812
Phone: (618) 438-2815
I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Illinois University and then received my Doctorate of Medical Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. After, I attended the University of Tennessee to complete my Master of Science in Orthodontics degree.
I consider every minute of continuing education to be vital for my patients and myself. Staying current with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies within my field allows me to improve treatment efficiency and provide higher quality results for each person I treat.