Re-opening of Family Cosmetic and Family Dentistry

Greetings to all of our patients!  

I want to take this time to reach out to you all and reconnect so as to let you all know what we've been up to during the Novel Corona Virus Pandemic.  I want to state that our #1 priority is, and has always been the health & safety of our patients, and, of course, to provide to you the highest quality dental care we can!  

We anticipate reopening in the not too distant future for all aspects of routine and maintenance dental care.  In the mean time, we remain available for emergent treatment if needed.

I am sure most of you have questions and concerns regarding the safety of dentistry during this time, so we'd like to share the measures and actions we are taking to ensure your safety here at our office.

First of all, the culture here will be a little bit different in the “post novel corona virus world”.  At least until researchers come up with therapies and /or a vaccine!  We will be implementing some new systems in our practice to mitigate the risk of disease transmission here.  

What to expect when you come to the office?  Prior to your appointment, when Diana calls you to confirm your appointment date and time, she will ask a few quick questions regarding your medical status, and any symptoms suggestive of an illness...We ask that if you are ill with a fever, coughing, etc. to please reschedule for when you are well.  

When you come to the office, we ask that you wait in your car in the parking lot.  Diana will be calling you at your appointment time to let you know that your dental operatory is ready for you.  Susie, Chelsea or I will meet you outside to take a quick, touch-less temperature scan of the forehead, and then escort you directly to your treatment room.  

We will be spacing out our patient appointments so that there is only one patient on the dentistry side with Susie and I, and only one patient in the hygiene side with Chelsea.  For the most part, no one is allowed to wait in the lobby until further notice...We will of course, accommodate people escorting children or elderly patients.

All surfaces will be disinfected with Hospital Grade Disinfectants (as we've always done in the past) between patients.  All door knobs, light switches, etc. will be disinfected every 30 minutes throughout the day!  This will mitigate the risk of any infectious disease transmission via surfaces.

Ever since the HIV epidemic in the 1980's, dentistry as an industry has employed “Universal Precautions” (masks, gloves, “single use” disposable equipment, etc.) to mitigate disease transmission.  

The most concerning of transmission routes for infection, including novel corona virus, is via “'aerosols”.  Dentists and hygienists  have used “High Volume Evacuation” (HVE) routinely for decades to capture aerosols generated by dental hand pieces (drill) and ultra-sonic scaling devices.  HVE reduces aerosols by 90% !  

We will continue to use HVE for all procedures that generate aerosols.  In addition to HVE, we've invested in Medical Grade H-13 HEPA aerosol scavengers in our operatories (basically a very powerful vacuum) with a snorkel hose that we can position adjacent to the treatment field to scavenge any aerosol the HVE misses.

We have also invested in nine medical grade H-13 HEPA air filtration units placed throughout the office which will completely clean/turn over the air every 10 minutes, or six times per hour.

Another investment made was having medical grade UVC (Ultra-Violet C) units installed in our Central  Air Conditioning/Heating units that kill Bacteria and Virus as the air passes through. 

Finally, we will fog the office with Hypochlorous Acid, a human safe, yet powerful disinfectant at the end of each day.

We want you all to know that we are taking all possible precautions and measures to ensure your safety, and the safety of our team here!

To further streamline your experience at the office, we will be scheduling return visits for you in the operatory, at the end of your appointment.  We will make available electronic payment options in order to minimize visiting the front desk.

We miss you all and look forward to resuming operations to provide your dental care needs in a safe and caring manner.  

Warm regards,

Dr. Paulerio and Team

Attractive smiling woman with gap between her front teeth

Gapped Teeth

While some gaps in your smile are a harmless cosmetic quirk, larger spaces can cause issues such as inefficient chewing.

If you are self-conscious about gapped teeth or need treatment to improve your oral health, your dentist can recommend a solution.

Do I need to worry about gaps?

Attractive smiling woman with gap between her front teeth

Gaps Are Common for Children and Usually Harmless, But Sometimes Require Treatment

Gaps between Baby Teeth

Known as diastema, gaps between teeth are especially common in kids. As children grow up, these spaces tend to close naturally when the adult teeth erupt.

Permanent Diastema

If gaps remain after all the adult teeth erupt, they become permanent and will require professional diastema treatment.

Gaps from Missing Teeth

Another common type of gap is caused when teeth fall out or require extraction. These types of gaps require prompt treatment to prevent serious side effects, such as shifting teeth.

Let's take a look at some different types of diastema...

Three types of gaps between teeth Three types of gaps between teeth

Different Types of Gaps Require Different Treatments

A gap left by an extracted tooth will involve a different treatment process – such as a dental bridge – than gaps caused by natural jaw development or childhood habits.

Are certain people more likely to develop permanent gaps?

Genetics and Childhood Habits Can Increase the Chance of Diastema

Many of the factors which cause gaps and other types of misalignment are genetic, including the size of your teeth and jaw. Often, gapped teeth run in families.

Certain bad habits which are common in childhood can also lead to the development of gaps, including thumbsucking.

What causes gapped teeth?

There Are Many Reasons You May Develop Gaps in Your Smile

Large Frenulum

A frenulum or frenum refers to the band of tissue under the top lip, underneath the tongue, and inside the cheeks. If the tissue is longer than normal, it can cause gaps between the front teeth, either in the top or bottom jaw.

Extra Teeth or Small Teeth

Smaller than average teeth or extra teeth that block others from coming in can leave gaps in your smile.

Large Jaws

In some cases, the jaw is relatively large compared to the size of the teeth.

Missing Teeth

You may have been born without certain teeth, which leaves a space behind in the jaw.

Are gaps between teeth normal?

Diastema Are Very Common in Young Children

50% of kids ages 6-8 have gaps between their front teeth

However, this percentage decreases dramatically with age. Most childhood gaps will close on their own as permanent teeth erupt.

*According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

What should I do if I have gaps in my smile?

Your Doctor Can Tell You If Your Gaps Need Treatment or Not

For many patients, gaps are simply a cosmetic concern but some diastema can affect your oral health. Leaving large gaps untreated can cause other teeth to shift or increase your risk of gum disease. It is important to ask your doctor about gaps in your smile.

During your appointment, the doctor will examine your smile to assess the health of your teeth and gums. They may also take an x-ray or another type of scan to examine the tooth roots and see if any teeth are trapped below the gums, causing gaps. Be ready to discuss your medical and dental history so your doctor can determine the cause of your diastema.

Dental x-ray

Can I prevent gaps from forming?

While Most Diastema Are Hereditary, Early Evaluation May Help Prevent Issues

Minimize Bad Habits in Childhood

If you are concerned about your child developing gaps, you can help their jaw develop properly by stopping thumb sucking and pacifier use at an appropriate age. Ask your doctor about the best time to wean children off of these habits.

Consult an Orthodontist Early

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends all children see an orthodontist by the age of seven. This early evaluation can help identify potential problems and implement strategies to ensure teeth erupt properly.

Maintain Good Oral Health

Since issues such as periodontal disease can cause gaps to form between teeth, proper brushing and flossing can help prevent gaps from forming. You should also attend regular cleanings and exams to ensure your gums remain healthy.

Do I really need to go to a dentist if I have gapped teeth?

Preventing Gaps Requires Early Intervention

"Not all diastemas can be treated the same... Timing is often important to achieve satisfactory results." Wen-Jeng Huang, DDS and Curtis J. Creath, DMD, MS

Orthodontic Treatment Is a Common Way to Correct Gaps

Braces and other orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign®, are commonly used to fix diastema. Orthodontics can adjust teeth to close gaps and create a healthier, more comfortable bite.

Illustration of braces Illustration of braces

What if I don't want braces?

I'm ready to fix the gaps in my smile. What should I do?

Contact a Doctor Today

If you feel self-conscious about gapped or missing teeth, you have many options to improve the health and appearance of your smile. Find out more about your next steps by contacting a doctor today.

Point Loma Family Dentistry team

Point Loma Family Dentistry

Dr. Louis E. Paulerio is a top-rated dentist who is committed to providing the latest dental treatments in a caring, warm setting. He is a member of several prestigious dental organizations, including: 

  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • International Dental Implant Association

He also uses CEREC technology to create beautiful, long-lasting dental restorations in just one appointment. Ready to schedule a consultation at our Point Loma office? Request your appointment online or call us at (619) 223-3811.

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