Having a diastema, or gap between your teeth, is more common than you might think. A gap in the front teeth is considered a symbol of beauty in some cultures and good luck in others. The causes of a gap in your front teeth include a large labial frenum, gum disease, and jaw size.
One common reason a gap may appear in between your front teeth is the frenum.
The labial frenum is the thin piece of tissue that connects your upper lip to your upper gums. For some, the frenum doesn’t grow normally. If the frenum grows too large, it can cause the front teeth to separate and create a gap between them.
A gap in the front teeth caused by a large frenum doesn’t always require correction. However, a frenectomy is an elective procedure that can be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to correct an abnormal frenum.
During the in-office procedure, your surgeon will loosen or remove the frenum. Once the frenectomy is complete, you can consult with an orthodontist or professional dental aligner provider if you want to fix your gapped teeth.
Gaps in between the teeth can also appear due to illness.
The absence of proper dental care and oral hygiene can cause gum disease. Poor gum health can cause receding gums, gum infections, loose teeth, and other dental issues. These symptoms of gum disease can cause spaces to grow in between the teeth.
Once these spaces are present, the teeth can shift. “Gum disease can cause tooth movement and that is very serious,” Paul Springs, DMD, of Dr. Mondshine and Associates, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
“If you suspect you have gum disease, it’s important to get treatment with your dentist because it can lead to irreversible bone and tooth loss, and generally lead to unhealthy inflammation that affects your whole body,” Springs adds.
According to University of Florida Health, the size of your jaw plays a major role in the alignment of your teeth.
The alignment and size of your teeth is often determined by genetics. If you have a large or wide jaw, your teeth may have more space to move and shift.
Additionally, the combination of too much space in the jaw and small teeth can result in abnormal spacing and gaps between your teeth.
It’s also possible to develop dental gaps later in life. “Teeth are not completely immobile like you might think–if there is pressure in one direction, the tooth will move that way,” Spring says.
“If you have a large jaw, or get a tooth extracted, that creates open space where there’s less pressure on the teeth. So, they move gradually to fill the space more evenly, which can lead to gaps,” Spring explains.
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