Your smile is the window to your happiness, so you should never feel like you have to hide it from the world. However, when certain conditions like small upper lateral incisors affect the way your teeth look, it’s not uncommon to feel self-conscious. Fortunately, Chamberlain Family Orthodontics is well-versed in complex orthodontic issues like this one, and if you’re looking into restoring your small upper lateral incisors, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn all about the condition and how we can help give you the smile you deserve.
About Small Upper Lateral Incisors
The upper or maxillary lateral incisors are the teeth located directly beside your top front teeth. According to the National Institutes of Health, adult upper laterals are usually about 6.64 mm in width on average. Depending on the size of your mouth, your genetics, and a wide range of other factors, these teeth can vary in size. Typically, this size difference isn’t noticeable and is no cause for concern.
For some patients, however, the adult upper laterals may develop noticeably unevenly compared to the size of the surrounding teeth, resulting in a stunted or cone-shaped appearance. In other cases, one or both of these maxillary laterals may not develop at all, leaving a missing space in the gum line.
Because these teeth are front and center when you smile, missing or smaller-than-average maxillary laterals can put a major damper on a patient’s self-esteem. Although the condition is not harmful to your daily life in general, low self-confidence is often enough for most patients to seek orthodontic treatment to bridge the gaps between their teeth.
The National Library of Medicine reports that small upper lateral incisors occur in up to 8.4% of the general population. However, because tooth proportion is subjective and treatment largely depends on the patient’s self-image, this number is relative. Other studies have found that women are at a slightly higher risk for developing small upper lateral incisors.
Typically, small upper lateral incisors are caused by one of two things: genetics or developmental anomaly. It isn’t uncommon for microform teeth to “run in the family,” and if your parents or grandparents had small maxillary laterals, you or your child might develop them as well.
Sometimes microform teeth develop without a genetic history. Conditions or illnesses during pregnancy may play a role in a child developing small upper lateral incisors, but it may be difficult to confirm these causes once the teeth have already developed.
Treatment Options at Chamberlain Family Orthodontics
When you find that your small upper lateral incisors are affecting your self-confidence, it may be time to seek orthodontic treatment. Depending on the size of the teeth or whether they are missing altogether, your treatment options may differ. In either case, Dr. Chamberlain recommends treating this condition with the help of Invisalign clear aligners for the best results possible.
Combining Invisalign with Dental Care for Best Results
The best way to restore small upper lateral incisors is to align the teeth orthodontically followed by the application of a dental crown or veneer. Invisalign clear aligners help realign the teeth into the optimal position for this process by creating a proportionate amount of space on either side of the maxillary lateral so that when your dentist adds the crown or veneer, your smile appears naturally spaced and perfectly straight.
If you’re missing one or both upper lateral incisors, treatment can become more complex. Depending on your bite and midlines, Dr. Chamberlain may recommend redistributing the space for implants or closing the gaps using Invisalign. However, because missing teeth can correspond to a range of other orthodontic issues, it’s best to meet with Dr. Chamberlain to determine the best course of action for your unique needs.
The Invisalign Advantage
Although traditional metal braces could technically do the trick to position the teeth before dental work, Invisalign clear aligners at Chamberlain Family Orthodontics provide the most accurate treatment approach. Using the iTero digital scanner, Dr. Chamberlain can more precisely map out the exact patterns for tooth movement needed to create restorative space. Additionally, this technology allows our team to communicate your records with restorative dentists and lab technicians to ensure the most efficient and aesthetic outcome.
Invisalign clear aligners also pose other advantages for patients. This treatment option is nearly invisible, making it a great option for patients looking for a discreet way to straighten their teeth without the bulky brackets and wires of traditional braces. They are also completely personalized to fit your unique smile comfortably and effectively. This level of customization can be a make or break for your grin, especially when it comes to restoring upper lateral incisors. In fact, we can even add a fake tooth, or pontic, to your trays during treatment to fill spaces in your smile before a restorative dentist finds a more permanent solution.
Ask the Experts at Chamberlain Family Orthodontics
If you’re struggling to feel comfortable with your smile, it’s time to book an appointment with Dr. Chamberlain in Redlands or Beaumont. Whether you’re worried about the look of small upper lateral incisors or just looking for a smile tune-up, our team of experts is here to help. Schedule your free consultation to get started today! We can’t wait to make you smile.
With the help of Phase I intervention, ten-year-old Aubri loves her beautifully-restored small lateral incisors!