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A Gap in Your Grin: To Fix It or Not to Fix It?

Many people have a gap in their teeth. But, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, that depends on who you ask. In the modeling industry, there’s a trend towards this as a “fashion statement.” If you ask your dentist, he may give you an entirely different answer.

The Basic Problem

The technical term for a gap in the teeth is diastema. It’s a space of gap between two teeth. The mismatch between the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth can cause this.

Specifically, if your teeth are too small for your jaw bone, you’ll get space between your teeth. But, that’s not the only cause. Sometimes, teeth are missing or they’re undersized. This happens a lot with the upper lateral incisors (which are next to your two front teeth.

Diastema can be caused by an oversized labial frenum too. This is the piece of tissue that extends from the inside of your upper lip to the gum just above your two front upper teeth. If this overgrows, then it will pass between your two front teeth and block the natural closing of that space.

And, sometimes it’s just bad habits that cause gapping. For example, excessive thumb-sucking can cause it.

Some people have a terrible swallowing reflex – their tongue presses against the roof of their two front teeth instead of the roof of their mouth. This is called “thrusting.”

Finally, periodontal disease (gum disease) can cause a loss of bone supporting the teeth, which in turn causes gapping.

What Are The Symptoms?

There are a few symptoms to watch out for. When the gapping is caused by gum disease, it will be accompanied by inflammation of the gums. There will be excessive bleeding while flossing or brushing, and the gap will grow over time. Teeth may become loose – even permanent teeth.

There may be pain (but not always) when chewing or biting.

Other causes of gapping may not have any outward negative or painful symptoms.


A dentist or orthodontist, like Dr.Karlheinz Healthcare, can diagnose the spacing just by looking at them. But, X-rays may be necessary to determine if there’s any structural damage or if the problem is actually pathological or benign.


Treatment Options

Sometimes, gapping is a normal part of growing up. It may not require any intervention. Of course, it can be aesthetically unappealing, which is why many people choose to fix it. Some people get braces to solve the problem, others get retainers to try to coax teeth into better alignment.

If your teeth are undersized, your orthodontist may suggest widening them with crowns, veneers, or bonding. If you want to know more about this type of treatment, Click here.

When To Call In A Professional

If you have a large gap in your teeth (or your child’s teeth), talk with your dentist about it. It’s not an emergency, but the dentist will be able to determine the risks and complications involved with fixing them versus leaving the issue alone. The cost may or may not be worth it to you, depending on the severity of the condition. The only way you’ll know is to sit in the dentist’s chair.

Ben Tucker works at a dentist practice and often uses his day job to spark his topics for his evening writing sessions.


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