Gaps or extra space between teeth are called diastemas. They can happen anywhere in the mouth but most frequently they are found between the two central teeth in the upper jaw.
Gaps between baby teeth
Spaces between primary teeth are normal and typically not a cause of any concern. The extra spaces are actually helpful in creating room for the larger adult teeth. In most cases, the spaces will disappear once adult teeth erupt.
Gaps between adult teeth
There are many reasons why you can have gaps between adult teeth. The most common include:
- Genetics – Genetics dictates most of our physical traits. This can include the size and shape of the jaw, the size of the teeth, and even congenitally missing teeth. Any of these can cause the presence of diastemas.
- Alignment – In some cases, space may be due to alignment issues. Certain habits can contribute to these and can cause protrusion of the front teeth. These habits can include thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, and tongue thrust.
- Frenum – The labial frenum is the soft tissue that attaches the lip to the gums. In some cases that attachment is quite low and can create a pull on the gingival which prevents the front teeth from coming closer together.
- Missing teeth – In most cases when there are missing teeth a gap will be present.
- Periodontal disease – Periodontal disease destroys the supporting structures around teeth allowing them to shift and separate.
Are gapped teeth a problem?
Gapped teeth are not necessarily an issue. If the alignment of the teeth is correct and the supporting tissue is healthy it may be totally fine to leave the gap. Having said that for some people the gap can be a nuisance causing food trapping and sore gums or aesthetic concern.
How can I fix my gapped teeth?
If you are unhappy with the gap between your teeth the first thing you should do is have a dentist examine your mouth. The treatment options available to you will be very case-specific. Some options that may be recommended include:
Braces and Invisalign change the position of your teeth. Braces consist of metal brackets that are attached to the teeth. A wire is placed into the brackets and which will gradually adjust the position of the teeth. Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners instead of brackets and wires.
Veneers can change the size, shape and colour of your teeth. They are typically made of composite or porcelain. The material is placed over the whole front surface of the tooth to help to improve its appearance. Most veneers need to be fabricated in a dental laboratory and will require a series of appointments.
Crowns also referred to as caps, encircles the whole surface of the tooth. Ceramic crowns are used to improve aesthetics. They can also change the size, shape and colour of the tooth but provide more strength than veneers.
In some cases, the dentist may be able to add tooth- coloured restoration composite to the tooth to alter its shape. The material is bonded to the tooth, shaped, and polished to match the surrounding teeth.
Like we said before treatment options to fix gaps between the teeth are client specific. If you have a concern with the health or appearance of your teeth it is best to seek professional advice. A simple consultation with a dentist can answer any questions you may have.
If you have any questions or concerns or are ready to set up an appointment contact our dental office today. We will be happy to help.
DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.