If you have a gap between your two front teeth, you're not alone. Studies have shown that 5% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 50 have a gap between their front teeth. This gap, known as a diastema, can negatively impact your self esteem and make you uncomfortable with your smile. Cosmetic treatments such as veneers can be used to hide your diastema and give you the smile you've always wanted. Here are four things you need to know about veneers for diastemas.
What are veneers?
Veneers are thin shells that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of the teeth. These shells can be made of a wide variety of materials, including pressable ceramic or sintered feldspathic porcelain. Veneers also come in many shades, so your dentist will be able to match them to the rest of your teeth for a natural look.
How are veneers applied?
Before your veneers can be applied, your dentist will need to prepare your front teeth. They will trim down your enamel—by about the same thickness as the veneer—to ensure that your teeth don't look too thick after the treatment. Once the enamel has been trimmed, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. They will use this impression to make your veneers.
You'll need to wait a week or two for your veneers to be made. Once they're ready, you'll go back to the dentist to have them applied. Your dentist will etch your teeth to make their surface rough, and then they'll apply dental cement to the teeth. The veneers will then be carefully positioned on top of the cement, and once your dentist is sure they're in the perfect place, they'll use a curing light to harden the cement.
Are veneers suitable for all diastemas?
While veneers are a fast and easy way to close some people's diastemas, they're not a good option for everyone. If the gap between your teeth isn't your only dental problem, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment, instead. For example, if your teeth are crooked, crowded or don't line up properly when you bite down, an orthodontist should treat those issues. If you get veneers when your teeth are misaligned, the extra pressure on your veneers could make them crack or chip.
Veneers also aren't a good option for people who clench or grind their teeth. You could break your veneers due to this bad habit since veneers aren't as tough as your natural teeth. Orthodontic treatment can close your diastema if you're a clencher or grinder.
If you don't clench or grind your teeth, and the gap between your teeth is your only orthodontic issue, you may be a good candidate for veneers. Your dentist will be able to let you know if this treatment is right for you after they examine your teeth.
Can veneers be removed?
Veneers are permanent, so you need to be very confident that this treatment is the right choice for you. If you end up missing the gap—as some people find it gives their smile character—you won't be able to get it back. This is because the enamel is trimmed to allow room for the veneers, and if the veneers are removed, your thin, etched enamel will be exposed. You'll always need to have veneers or another restoration protecting the surface of the treated teeth.
If you don't like the look of the gap between your front teeth, you may be able to conceal it with veneers. Talk to your dentist to find out if veneers are the best way to close your unwanted diastema.