What Causes Gaps to Develop Between Teeth?

  • May 6 2023

Gaps between your teeth can negatively impact the appearance of your smile. They’re often much more noticeable than other minor defects, leading many patients to seek cosmetic dentistry procedures. However, not all gaps are the same — how your gaps developed can determine which treatment is best for you. 

With that in mind, here are a few different ways that gaps can form.

Missing Teeth

Of course, missing teeth will leave a noticeable gap in your smile. If you lose teeth due to decay, dental trauma, or gum disease, you’ll be left with a space where that tooth once was. However, that’s not the only way a missing tooth impacts your smile.

The open space left by the tooth allows other teeth to shift their positions over time, leading to more gaps in your smile, crooked teeth, and bite issues.

It’s in your best interests in both aesthetics and oral health to replace missing teeth before further problems occur. Dental crowns can save a decayed or damaged tooth from extraction, and options like dental bridges and dental implants can replace missing teeth.

Undersized Teeth

Teeth vary in size from person to person but are generally proportional to the jawbone. However, if this isn’t the case, you could find yourself dealing with a variety of issues. Oversized teeth can cause severe crowding and development issues, and undersized teeth can leave you with gaps in your smile.

If all of your teeth are disproportionately small compared to your jawbone, then they won’t cover enough area for a complete and gapless smile. You can either experience gaps between all of your teeth or a disproportionate spread of significant gaps between only a few teeth.

You might also have individual teeth that are too small while the rest are the correct size, and this can lead to gaps around that individual tooth. Dental veneers provide an excellent solution for this problem, providing a flawless and proportional appearance with minimal impact on the tooth.

Extended Pacifier Use

One of the most common causes of gaps between the front teeth is extended pacifier use in children. Pacifier use is generally discouraged past age three. Sucking on a pacifier creates constant pressure that can affect the development of your child’s teeth alignment.

Thumb-sucking is a similar issue that can cause the same developmental problems. Using a bottle or sippy cup with a spout throughout the day can also cause dental problems since both require suction. You can bring up any habits you’re concerned about with your dentist, and they can help you find the right solution.

Oversized Labial Frenum

The labial frenum is the band of connective tissue in between your lip and gums. When this tissue is oversized, it can extend between the two front teeth and apply steady pressure against them. Over time, this creates a noticeable gap.

The extent of the issue can vary widely. An oversized frenulum often has no visible impact, but some can lead to large gaps.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious condition that can affect your smile over time. If left untreated, advanced gum disease can lead to losing teeth entirely.

Advanced gum disease affects the strength of the bone surrounding your teeth, allowing them more freedom to move and causing them to shift over time, which leaves noticeable gaps. 

Find a Solution for Gaps in Your Smile

If you have noticeable gaps in your smile, Payam Cohen, D.D.S., P.C., can determine the appropriate course of treatment. In many cases, porcelain veneers are an excellent solution to deal with gaps in teeth and other dental defects. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Cohen in Queens, NY, to discover your treatment options.

Categories: Cosmetic Dentistry