Big Gap in Your Front Teeth? Why & What to Do

Big Gap in Your Front Teeth? Why & What to Do
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Big Gap in Your Front Teeth? Why & What to DoClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Causes
  2. Do You Need to Fix It?
  3. Treatment for Mild Gaps
  4. Eliminate Gaps
  5. References

Something wonderful happens, and your lips pull back into a wide smile. What do people see?

If a big gap separates the two teeth in the middle of your upper jaw, you're not alone. Experts call this condition diastema, and it's relatively common. Many small children have gappy smiles, for example.

But adults with gap-toothed smiles may be prompted to address the issue. You face plenty of treatment options, including appliances, surgery, and more.

What Causes the Gaps?

Your teeth are delicate pieces of machinery, and each one should work with its neighbors to grind up each bite you take. Gaps interfere with that work. Sometimes, they form for reasons you can't control.

Researchers say some people have genes that lead to gap-toothed smiles. If your parents, grandparents, and siblings all have gaps, you're likely to face the same issue.

But you can cause a gap (or make an existing one worse) through three habits:

  1. Sucking your thumb: Tiny children who pop their fingers, toes, and thumbs in their mouths can push their teeth forward and apart.
  2. Pushing your teeth with your tongue: Swallow, and watch the way your mouth moves. If your tongue presses the back of your front teeth, they can move forward and apart.
  3. Ignoring dental health: Gums help to hold your teeth in place. If you avoid brushing and flossing, bacteria colonies can flourish and allow your teeth to move.

You can't use at-home techniques to pull your teeth back together. Rubber bands, strands of floss, and other DIY hacks can harm your teeth and make the problem worse.

Must You Fix a Diastema?

Each smile looks a little different. Teeth come in different shapes and sizes, and yours is uniquely your own. If you have a gap, you may choose to embrace it.

Plenty of people find gaps attractive. In fact, some people even ask doctors to give them gaps (although that can lead to disaster).

But living with a diastema can mean dealing with:

  • Teasing. While you might love your smile, hurtful outsiders might make comments about how you look.
  • Discomfort. If the space between your teeth is particularly wide, sharp foods can poke your gums and cause bleeding.
  • Awkward eating. It's hard to bite through sandwiches and other foods when your teeth don't align. And your gap can allow fluids to shoot from your mouth.
  • Increased dental care requirements. You must keep your teeth clean to avoid bacterial attacks. You might need special brushes and appliances to address your gap.

It's never too late to do something about your smile. An issue you lived with for years could begin to bother you later in life, and you could take action at that time.

If your teeth don't nest properly, braces and other appliances can correct the problem and help you achieve a healthier mouth and more attractive smile.

3 Treatment Options for Mild Gaps

Some people have perfectly straight, aligned back teeth. And their lower teeth nest beneath the uppers perfectly. But there's a big gap between their front incisors.

how to fix big gap in front teeth

Someone like this may not need a whole-mouth solution to fix a gap issue. They just need to fix one problem alone.

Treatment options for a person like this include:

Bonding
Your dentist applies a small amount of tooth-colored materials to each front tooth. As the layers build up, the gap closes.
Veneers
Your dentist glues tooth-colored shells to the front of your teeth and cements them in place. Studies suggest that this option works well for people leery of signing up for major revisions, including braces.
Minor Surgery
Sometimes, the tissue between your teeth causes a gap. Removing this excess tissue can give your teeth the freedom to move closer together.
These treatment options come with drawbacks. Bonded teeth can chip and crack, and veneers eventually need replacing. Cosmetic adjustments like this also can't amend the underlying issue that caused the gap to form.

Straighten Your Teeth to Eliminate Gaps

Working with an orthodontist means addressing your entire smile. Your front teeth must move together to close the gap, but all of their neighbors must shift too. A solution like this ensures that your teeth continue to work together as you talk, chew, and smile.

Orthodontic care is considered the best treatment for alignment issues.

Your orthodontic options include:

  • Traditional braces. Metal wires attached to metal brackets pull your teeth into proper alignment.
  • Designer braces. This is your most-expensive option. Ceramic brackets sit on the front of your teeth, or metal brackets sit behind them. Wires, once again, pull your teeth in line.
  • Aligners. Plastic trays coat your teeth, and you swap out old ones for new versions monthly. Aligners are often much less expensive than braces, and they're more comfortable too.

No matter what solution you choose, you must wear a retainer when treatment is complete. Studies show that gaps in teeth come back when customers don’t wear their retainers. You must wear a device all day in the early stage of recovery and then wear it at night for the rest of your life.

But your commitment can mean a straighter smile, a better bite, and even an improved quality of life.

If you're considering aligners, we'd love to talk with you. At Byte, we've helped hundreds of people close gaps in their teeth. Our medical-grade aligners are smooth and strong, so they hold up with regular wear.

And we'll send you our HyperByte® tool to ease pain and speed up treatment. Let's get started!

References

Familial Correlations and Heritability of Maxillary Midline Diastema. (January 2003). American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

Diastema. (September 2018). Healthline.

A Case of Quackery and Obsession for Diastema Resulting in Avoidable Endodontic Therapy. (March 2012). African Health Sciences.

Comparison of Porcelain Veneers and Crowns for Resolving Esthetic Problems: Two Case Reports. (December 2009). Journal of the Canadian Dental Association.

Diastema Closure: A Restorative Design and Treatment Challenge. (September 2015). Dentistry Today.

Relapse After Orthodontic Correction of Maxillary Median Diastema: A Follow-up Evaluation of Consecutive Cases. (1999). The Angle Orthodontist.

Changes in Quality of Life During Orthodontic Correction of Midline Diastema. (July 2014). Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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