Ask The Dentist – Gap Between Two Front Teeth

A teenager asks our family dentist whether the gap between her front teeth is a problem.

Today’s question comes from an 18 year old from Downham who is undecided about a particular aspect of her appearance.

Q. I have had a gap between my two front teeth now for several years. When I was a bit younger, I loved this as people like Kate Moss and a few other stars and models had them too. Now that I’m a bit older though (and hopefully at least a little wiser), I have started to wonder whether it’s possible to close this gap and if there is actually any reason, other than cosmetic to do so?

Thank you for your question. The ‘problem’ that you mention is known in dental terms as a ‘diastema’. Whilst I am aware that a number of famous people have kept theirs to give them more individuality, they technically are caused by the teeth being out of alignment. This can sometimes result in problems which I will look at shortly.

There are a number of causes of a diastema, many of which start off at a relatively young age. Did you perhaps, suck your thumb regularly as a child, and perhaps also for longer than you should have? This can cause the front two teeth especially to protrude, and in doing so, can separate them. There are also some minor muscular issues around the lip area which could contribute to this.

Aside from the aesthetic aspects of a diastema, any teeth that do not fit closely together can cause problems, especially as you get older. One of the more common of these is that other teeth may also start to move, potentially leaving you with crooked teeth. Whilst there are medical procedures which can correct the muscles, few people chose this option as there are more simple, effective and much less invasive cosmetic dental procedures available.

The choice of these would depend on the result of a consultation with our Cygnet Dental Practice dentist who examines you. If the gap is very minor, dental bonding could be used to reshape the teeth. This is not always ideal though as bonding can discolour and as the front teeth are very visible, this may become noticeable. If the gap is not too large, dental veneers could be a good option. These are attached to the front of the teeth and close the gap between them. Veneers are also highly resistant to staining, will keep the colour and should last for around ten years.

Finally, the other option is to use orthodontics to straighten the teeth out. There is no need to use traditional metal braces for this you will be pleased to hear, and discreet adult braces can now be used which are far less noticeable than old style braces. The type of brace to be used would depend on the outcome of the consultation. As it appears that you are concerned only about these two teeth, it is possible that the treatment time would be relatively short too.

Should you choose to have your teeth straightened, I would recommend an appointment at our dental practice near Downham for an initial examination and we can discuss forward options with you there.

Please call the Cygnet Dental Practice receptionists on 01268 733078.