Often, patients will come in, and we’ll ask them what their number one concern is, why are they here. And a lot of times the reason is, “I’ve got a space in my two front teeth.” And you see that all the time.
It’s very common, and they want it fixed.
Sometimes it’s something they have dealt with for a while and they finally thought, “Okay, I’m ready to get this fixed,” or it’s something that just recently pops up.
A gap between your two front teeth is known as a diastema. Gaps can occur between any two teeth.
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What Causes a Space in Teeth?
We wanna talk about what causes the spacing in your teeth, and then how we can fix it.
The number one cause for spacing in between the front two teeth, which is a little bit more common, you have a muscle, and we call it a frenum attachment. So you have a muscle that attaches your upper lip to your gums.
Everyone has it, and it allows your upper lip to be mobile and move. But it also causes your lip to be fixated a little bit. Otherwise, you may be able to pull your upper lip over your nose or something like that.
Now, everyone’s muscle attaches a little bit differently. On some people, that muscle attaches a little bit lower than normal. And it will attach right in between your two front teeth. When that happens, you’re much more prone to have a space develop there.
The reason being, is any time you eat, any time you talk, you chew, any time you’re moving your upper lip, you’re pulling on that little muscle. You’re pulling on that attachment, and that actually causes a little bit of force there and pulls those front two teeth together.
If you have a case where you have no space anywhere except between your front two teeth, chances are you’ve got a low muscle attachment.
How Do We Fix diastema?
Braces are a common treatment for fix diastema. There are a couple of different ways, a couple of different methods that we can use to do that. And really, it depends on how the teeth are fitting together and how big the space is.
If it’s a very minor space, if it’s something that just started to open up, or if it’s something that’s almost just a crack or a hair, that’s something that’s very easy to fix and it can be done in a number of different ways. And the easiest way is probably just with a regular retainer that’s a little bit tight.
So, we have a clear plastic retainer that’s been tightened in a couple of spots and it’ll pull the teeth together, push them back to where they need to be. And it usually is done in a week or two. That’s really in straightforward cases.
And those are more cases where someone has had treatment before, and that space opens up a little bit again.
Maybe they lost their retainer, or for whatever reason, the space in between the teeth has decided to open again. Those we can typically fix just with a retainer in a couple of weeks.
If the space is a lot larger, we have to think about how the teeth are coming together.
Consider upper and lower teeth. So now, if you can imagine we had a big gap or a big space in between our front teeth when we pull those together, the teeth don’t come together. They don’t just slide together. They also come back a little bit, and that’s just the nature of closing the teeth.
If we were just to pull the teeth together, you can imagine there would be spaces on the other sides of the teeth. So in order to close that space, as well as to keep the spaces closed on the backsides of the teeth, we actually pull the teeth slightly inwards. Not enough to where you would notice a change of position of the teeth or a change in profile, but enough to where it would affect your bite.
Sometimes, because of the way the top teeth and the bottom teeth come together, if there isn’t a lot of overbites there and you do have a lot of spacing, you will need lower braces even if your lower teeth are completely straight. Because we’re pulling those upper teeth back, and if we were to just pull them back, you would start hitting on those lower teeth. We need to do lower braces to get those in a better position and to have everything fit together nicely.
If you do have a bit of an overbite, if do have a little bit of a gap, then it’s pretty quick and easy to close that space and have those teeth fit together really nicely.
How Do We Keep the Space Closed?
The question is how do we keep the space closed once it is closed, especially if you have, again, that low muscle attachment.
There are a couple of things we can do.
One, we can have a gum specialist remove the attachment there, and put it in a different place.
That’s kind of a long-term fix. It works very well.
At the same time, people usually don’t wanna go through a surgical procedure to ensure that their teeth are gonna stay the way that they need to stay or the way that they want them to stay.
Oftentimes what we’ll do, is right behind the teeth, we’ll glue a little wire, and acts as a permanent retainer. And the nice thing is it’s very small, very smooth, very low profile. You don’t even know it’s there after we’ve done it. And then what that does is it just keeps those teeth together, and it works very well.
It takes a little bit more diligence to keep that clean. You’re gonna have to floss under it just like you would with the braces.
But it’s not like it’s on all of your teeth; it’s just the front two teeth there. And that does a really good job of keeping those front teeth together once we close that space if you do have that low muscle attachment.
How Can You Fix Space in Teeth?
- Dental Bonding. Dental bonding is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to fix spacing in teeth.
- Veneers. If you’ve discolored and/or chipped teeth that also have gaps, dental veneers may be your best treatment option.
- Braces and Invisalign.
Small gaps between teeth can be filled by using tooth-coloured composite bonding to close the localised spaces.