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Love it or hate it — the gap between your front teeth gives character to your smile and is part what makes you unique. But if you hate the gap you’re probably thinking “I don’t want to be that unique — I want to smile with confidence and not show any gaps,” which is a normal response as a diastema (science-jargon for gap between teeth) may be thought of as annoying or even an imperfection. Many patients enquire on ways to close the gap and create what they consider to be a more aesthetic smile, so don’t feel alone.
When you look at a young child’s smile you’ll very often notice a large gap between the top central teeth. At first this gap may appear alarming as it can seem extreme and out of balance in the child’s mouth. In reality, it’s perfectly normal with approximately 97% of children exhibiting diastemas at some stage of their dental development. In fact, the extra space plays a role in the transition and growth of a child’s jaw and bite. And, by the time adult teeth have erupted, spaces should have closed and teeth moved in to desired alignment. However, in some mouths, a gap between the top front teeth remains due to a variety of factors that range from gum tissue interference to an enlarged labial frenum that prevents teeth from moving closer together. Another factor can be the size ratio of jaw to teeth. Large teeth in a small jaw usually end up crooked and crowded – while the reverse is true of small teeth in a large jaw as teeth erupt away from one another leading to large gaps between teeth. Oral habits such as finger and thumb sucking can also cause front teeth to spread apart and form a gap, and some people simply have a genetic predisposition for a diastema.
If you don’t happen to love your gap, you have a couple options for correcting it. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is orthodontic treatment which may be highly beneficial if you have another bite concern that can also be rectified during treatment. For those patients who have a healthy bite but want to improve the aesthetics of their smile, placing veneers, crowns, or white filling material to close the gap may be an option. Depending on the health of your front teeth and the width of the gap, a restorative solution can prove both functionally and aesthetically successful as it closes the gap and restores the teeth to better form and function.
At Centennial Smiles, we love the whole range of smiles from baby-tooth smiles filled with gaps to the dashing, professional adult-tooth smile. We appreciate that your smile is an important part of your identity and self-image, so we strive to help you achieve the smile you want. For more information on our cosmetic dental services — talk to our friendly team at Centennial Smiles Dental.