When the upper lateral incisors, found between your front teeth and the canine teeth, develop abnormally small, it is known as a “peg lateral.” These peg laterals may occur on both sides of the central incisors or just on one side. The term “peg lateral” comes from the appearance of these teeth due to their diminutive size. Given their placement, many patients often desire to address the aesthetic concerns that occur when this anomaly happens.
How Peg Laterals Happen and How Dentists Address Them
The upper lateral incisors are those located between the central incisors and canine teeth. Because these teeth are right in front, this can be quite noticeable and often a cause of embarrassment. Peg laterals cannot be prevented, as the underlying factors are outside the control of patients and dentists alike.
- Genetics: The anomaly appears to be congenital, occurring more frequently in children with parents who have experienced peg laterals.
- Developmental anomaly: For any number of reasons, it’s possible for these teeth to just not form properly. The underlying reasons for these occurrences are not well understood.
In some instances, the condition will go beyond simply having smaller lateral incisors. Some patients will present with no adult lateral incisors at all. This means that the only teeth present will be the lateral incisors that appeared as part of their primary, or baby, teeth. For those with this variation, the visual effect is the same.
Dental insurance generally does not cover the treatment of peg laterals, as they are seen as more of a cosmetic concern than a necessary one. Despite this, many patients opt to treat peg laterals due to the aesthetic improvement it provides. The resulting changes often provide an enhanced sense of self-esteem and confidence.
Peg Lateral Treatment Options:
- Dental Veneers – Veneers are protective shells that are bonded with your teeth to address any imperfections in your smile. There are two materials frequently used in the creation of veneers. Porcelain is the most popular due to its translucent appearance that closely mimics natural teeth. Composite resin is a new option that is more cost-effective and can also closely mirror the appearance of natural teeth.
- Dental Crowns – When the peg laterals are particularly small, your dental team may suggest a full crown. Crowns are different from veneers in fully enveloping the peg lateral, using it as a mounting point. This approach has the benefit of providing superior protection for your peg laterals. Porcelain and cosmetic resin bonding can be used to create a dental crown.
Contact Your Dental Provider For Additional Options
Another standard treatment option for peg laterals is orthodontic treatment. In some cases, the appearance of this anomaly can be addressed using this technique. If you’re living with peg laterals and want to know what can be done to address them, reach out to your dentist. They’ll present a broad variety of treatment options to restore your smile and address the appearance of peg laterals.