The appearance of your teeth is not always a matter of chips, crookedness or other similar problems that affect only a few teeth at a time. Instead, many patients struggle with short teeth and/or gum to tooth ratios that make teeth appear too small for one’s mouth. There are several reasons teeth appear too small and there are corresponding cosmetic fixes to improve their appearance, reduce gaps and achieve different proportions. Similarly, small teeth, especially ones that are flat and square, tend to look more like juvenile teeth and can also be addressed.
Causes of Small Teeth in Adults
There are several factors that can make teeth smaller or appear smaller than they should. Referred to as microdontia, this can affect all of your teeth or only a few teeth. Hormone and genetic factors can sometimes cause this, including having a large jaw which makes the teeth seem too small for one’s face, this is known as relative generalized microdontia.
When all teeth are affected this is called generalized microdontia and can be the result of such genetic issues as pituitary dwarfism. A more common occurrence, however; is localized microdontia which will only affect one tooth and is often caused by a reduced number of teeth.
Gaps Caused by Small Teeth
Unlike with many other tooth imperfections, braces are not advisable for gaps caused by small teeth. Because braces’ primary function is to pull teeth together, small teeth would just create larger gaps in other parts of the mouth along with a still uneven smile.
Instead, porcelain veneers can be used to change the shape and size of the teeth. This non-invasive option allows for a thin veneer to be placed over the existing tooth, formed and colored to give a natural appearance.
Thin porcelain veneers are often an ideal option when your natural teeth are small but still healthy. When there are no signs of decay or other issues, your own teeth will not need to be ground down or reshaped. Instead, the veneers can be applied directly for a non-invasive approach to small teeth adjustments.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of the size of teeth, but how much gum is covering them, making them appear even shorter. While gum reshaping is often used to correct a gummy smile, it can also be used in the case of short and juvenile teeth.
For gum reshaping, your gums are treated with a local anesthetic before a laser is used to gently remove excessive gum material and reshape the gumline. The laser is used again to seal the area to give the preferred shape and to stop additional bleeding, making the process relatively quick and pain-free. However, it should be noted that the gums may take up to several weeks to fully heal and extra care should be taken during this time to prevent infection.
Choosing the Right Options for You
Depending on the results you want to achieve and the current condition of your own teeth, one or more of these options could be beneficial to you. Oftentimes procedures are combined along with other treatments like tooth whitening to meet your needs.
Your Art of Dentistry dental care provider can work with you to understand your options for correcting small teeth and juvenile teeth issues. To get started, contact us for a consultation with our experts!