- A mismatch between the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth can cause either extra space between teeth or crowding of teeth. If the teeth are too small for the jaw bone, spaces between the teeth will occur.
- Sometimes some teeth are missing or undersized. This happens most often with the upper lateral incisors. That can cause spaces to develop in the upper teeth.
- Habits can also lead to gaps between the teeth. Thumb sucking tends to pull the front teeth forward, creating gaps.
- Spaces can develop from an incorrect swallowing reflex. For most people, the tongue presses against the roof of the mouth (palate) during swallowing. Some people develop a different reflex known as a tongue thrust. When they swallow, the tongue presses against the front teeth. Over time the pressure will push the front teeth forward. This can cause spaces to develop.
Children may have temporary gaps as their baby teeth fall out. Most of these spaces close as the permanent teeth reach their final positions.
- Some people get braces, which move the teeth together. If your lateral incisors are too small, your dentist may suggest widening them using crowns, veneers or bonding.
- If you have a space because you are missing teeth, you might need more extensive dental repair. This might include dental implants, a bridge or a partial denture.
- If the gap is caused by periodontal disease, then periodontal treatment by a dentist or gum specialist (periodontist) is necessary. When gum health is restored, in many cases braces can be used to move the teeth into place.
In many cases, a gap between the front teeth in the upper jaw will close by itself. An oral health professional or orthodontist should be able to advise about the need for treatment for a child from about 10 or 11 years of age.
If you have a space between your teeth or see one in your child’s mouth, contact Expressions Dental™. Our general dentists will help determine the reason for the space and will provide treatment options.