Smiling guy with space between teethYou might think it’s unsightly, but some people find them attractive. While spaces can occur anywhere, they are most noticeable in the front teeth. One of the most common reasons for widely spaced teeth is a mismatch between the size of the teeth and the jawbone. Sometimes, the gap is caused by a thick layer of skin between the two front teeth.

Odd Habits

Besides hereditary factors, spaces can be caused by habits you may or may not be aware of. One of these is incorrect swallowing. Most people press their tongues against the roofs of their mouths when they swallow, but there is another reflex to swallowing known as tongue thrust. Instead of pressing their tongues against the roof of the mouth, they press it against the teeth, pushing the front teeth forward, causing spaces to develop. Long-term thumb sucking by babies and small children can also cause the teeth to be pushed forward. Since this kind of spacing is caused by habits, removing the habit will keep the problem from getting worse, but to correct the other work would need to be done.

Periodontal disease results in the loss of bone that supports the teeth. The teeth become loose and fall out. The end result is, that the remaining teeth begin drifting apart. Spaces caused by tongue thrust or periodontal disease tend to grow with time. The teeth may become loose or pain appears, especially when biting or chewing.

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If that gap between your teeth is hereditary, and you’ve grown comfortable with it, you might ultimately decide to leave it alone. If it leaves you self conscious, there are options to close the gap.

If it is a discrepancy between tooth and jaw size orthodontics, or braces, is the most common solution.

If a thick layer of skin between the teeth is the problem, an oral surgeon will need remove this skin from its attachment to the bone. The operation does not take long, is not overly painful and only requires a few stitches. If the patient is young enough, the teeth will grow closer together without requiring any further correction. In older patients, the dentist will wait for the patient to heal, then apply braces.

There are a variety of remedies that people use to take care of the spaces between their teeth. Other solutions include bonding (white filling) or porcelain veneers that are wafer-thin, tooth colored porcelain designed to fit over the top of your teeth to improve your appearance. These veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth, changing their color, size, shape or length. If you have any questions about how to close the gap between your teeth, call us today!