How to Close a Gap Between Your Front Teeth

Having a gap between your front teeth can be a difficult experience to overcome. On top of having an impact on your appearance and self-confidence, this orthodontic issue can be devastating to your overall oral health.

In this article, we will guide you through how you can close or narrow the gap between your front teeth.

What is Midline Diastema?

 
Diastema is the medical term for when you have a gap between two or more teeth. The condition exists in both young and old and can develop between any of your teeth.

A midline diastema is the most common type and refers specifically to the gap between your two upper front teeth.

Close Up of Teeth with No Diastema

What Causes Diastema?

 
Gaps can form for a variety of different reasons. Below you will find the main reasons you might have a gap in between your front teeth: 

  • Your teeth are too small for your jawbone – When a person’s teeth are too small for their jawbone, gaps can develop between them. Genetics are in charge of the size of your teeth in relation to your jawbone, which means diastemas can be passed down from generation to generation.
  • You have missing or undersized teeth – By having missing or smaller teeth, your chances of developing diastema are very high. A common cause of this is when the upper lateral incisors, the teeth beside your front two teeth, are missing or are too small. To compensate for this, a gap can develop between the front two teeth.
  • Your labial frenum is too large – Your labial frenum is the soft tissue that attaches the upper lip to the anterior surface of the maxillary gingiva, also known as your gums. If this piece of connecting tissue is too big for your gums, a gap can be created as a result.
  • You have gum disease – Gum disease can result in a complication known as tooth migration. This is when inflammation happens in your gums, which then damages the bones and tissue supporting your teeth. If left unchecked, this damage will cause your teeth to become loose, and eventually drift apart.
  • You are swallowing incorrectly – When people swallow, they tend to push their tongue to the roof of their mouth. Unfortunately, there are some who have troubles swallowing correctly, which results in their tongue pushing against their front teeth. This repeated pressure can lead to the teeth being gradually pushed forward, allowing for a gap to appear.
  • Your bad habits – From thumb sucking to tongue thrusting and grinding teeth, all of these habits gradually force teeth out of their natural position, which can lead to diastema.

 

How Do You Treat Diastema?

 
If you wish to close the gap in your front teeth for aesthetic or medical reasons, your dentist or orthodontist can help determine the best approach.

Treatments for treating midline diastema include:

Braces

 
Braces are the most common way of treating midline and other types of diastemas. They work by gradually applying pressure to your teeth to close the gap over time. You might find that a full set of braces will be necessary to correct the gap in your teeth. This is down to the fact that if you move any of your teeth, the rest of your mouth will be affected.

Surgery

 
If you have an oversized labial frenum that has resulted in a gap in your front teeth, then your dentist might suggest a procedure known as a frenectomy. It’s a fairly basic oral surgical procedure that removes any excess tissue from your mouth’s frenulum.

Following this type of surgery, you may require braces or similar treatments to close gap left by your oversized frenulum.

Gum Disease Treatment

 
By getting treatment for gum disease, you can stop infections and complications that can result in tooth loss.

Treatments for gum disease may include:

  • Scaling to remove tartar and bacteria from your gums.
  • Applying topical or oral antibiotics.
  • Surgery to remove deep tartar from beneath the gums (severe scenarios)

Dentist Looking at Teeth X-Rays

Once your gums are healthy again, your dentist will suggest one of the techniques mentioned in this article to correct your diastema.

How Can You Prevent Diastema?

 
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent hereditary types of diastema such as having teeth that are too small for your jawbone. However, there are methods for preventing diastema in less severe cases. These are:

  • Maintaining proper oral hygiene to prevent gum disease.
  • Regularly brushing and flossing.
  • Learning proper swallowing reflexes.
  • See a dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and examinations.
  • Break unhealthy habits such as thumb-sucking.

Seek Treatment for Diastema

 
For those of you who want to seek treatment for a gap in your front teeth, the outlook is positive. Many diastema correcting procedures can successfully close the gap.

If you want to find out more about correcting a gap in your teeth, contact the clinic today for a consultation with our orthodontic specialist.

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