It is not unusual to see small teeth in adults, and it can create a disproportionate smile leading to dissatisfaction over appearance. Sometimes teeth are naturally too small, a problem called microdontia, and while most people may have one or two teeth that are slightly too small, this condition can affect most or all of the teeth. Microdontia can fall into one of three main categories which are:
Microdontia is hereditary, so if you have parents or a sibling with this problem, you or your children are more likely to have shorter teeth than average. It can be due to genetic disorders like a cleft palate, but when this is the case, it’s often accompanied by other problems like hypodontia, where not all teeth will develop normally. Small teeth can also result from excessive wear and tear, for example, when someone clenches and grinds their teeth.
If you have too small teeth, various restorative dentistry treatments can help. These include:
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Dental bonding uses tooth-colored composite resin to increase the overall size and shape of the tooth. The composite resin is applied directly to the prepared tooth surface and hardened with light before being sculpted and polished to create a natural-looking tooth that is optimally shaped and sized. Treatment is very cost-effective and can often be completed in a single visit. It is an ideal solution if you only require minor modifications to increase the size of your teeth. Composite resin is reasonably strong and durable, but it can become stained after a few years or need replacing.
Some people have a gummy smile, where teeth appear to be too short but are simply covered up by excessive gum tissue. In this case, removing the excess gum can create a more aesthetically pleasing smile, so teeth are the proper size and are nicely framed with gum tissue. Sometimes gum reshaping is done before placing dental crowns and veneers, exposing more of the natural tooth, so treatment is more successful.
A dental crown covers the entire tooth and is a good solution when a tooth is particularly small or perhaps where there are unsightly gaps between teeth. The crown can be made of a tooth-colored ceramic material that blends in beautifully with existing teeth and is very strong and durable. Once bonded in place, a crown can last for years before it needs replacing.
Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or composite resin and only cover the front surface of a tooth. Porcelain veneers are more durable than composite resin veneers, but they cost more and require more preparation. Veneers can be an ideal solution for increasing the overall size and shape of teeth and need less tooth preparation than a porcelain crown.
Teeth that are severely worn by tooth grinding and clenching will benefit from restorative dentistry, but first, it is important to treat grinding and clenching problems. Failing to treat teeth grinding and clenching could damage any restorations, as the habit will crack or chip dental bonding, crowns, and veneers.
If you feel your teeth are too small, please visit South Our Dental Arts. Our dentist, Dr. Adam Shoukry, can examine your teeth, determine if they are too small, and discuss suitable treatments to create a bigger, more beautiful, and healthier smile.