Diastema; Causes and Treatments

LAST UPDATED: JULY 29, 2016

What is the Best Way to Fix Spaces or Gaps in Between the Teeth?

“What’s your No. 1 concern?” I ask patients.

“I’ve got a space between my two front teeth,” they reply.

This conversation is common.

Sometimes, they’ve dealt with for a while and thought, “Okay, I’m ready to get this fixed.” Other times, it’s a recent concern that pops up.

Teeth Gaps FAQ

What Causes the Spacing in Between Your Teeth?

The No. 1 cause for spacing in between the front two teeth, which is a little bit more common, is a low muscle attachment. A muscle attaches your upper lip to your gums allowing your upper lip to be mobile. It causes your lip to be fixated; otherwise you could pull your upper lip over your nose. Everyone’s muscle attaches a little differently. On some people, the muscle attaches lower than normal–right in between the two front teeth. When that happens, you’re more prone to have a space develop. Anytime you eat, talk, chew, and move your upper lip, you pull that muscle. This causes a force, pulling those two front teeth together. If you don’t have a space anywhere except in between your two front teeth, chances are you have a low muscle attachment.

How do you fix it? There are different methods, depending on how the teeth fit together and the size of the space.

If it’s a minor space that just started to open up, or just a crack or hair size, the easiest fix is with a regular retainer. It will pull the teeth together and push them back to where they need to be within a week or two. This works best when patients had treatment before, but the spaces opened again. Or, maybe they lost their retainers, and the spaces in between the teeth decided to open up again. With these cases, we can typically fix the spaces with a retainer in a couple weeks.

The Space

If the space is larger, we have to think about how the teeth come together. If you can imagine a big gap or space in between the front teeth, we pull those together. But, the teeth don’t come together or just slide together, but come back. That’s just the nature of closing the teeth. If we were just to pull the teeth together, you can imagine the spaces on the other sides of the teeth. So, in order to close that space, keep the spaces closed on the back sides of the teeth, we actually pull the teeth slightly inwards. We won’t pull them enough to the point where you would notice the teeth changing position or a change of profile, but just enough to affect your bite.

Sometimes due to the way the top and bottom teeth come together, there isn’t a lot of overbite but a lot of spacing. Then, you will actually need lower braces, even if your lower teeth are completely straight, because we pull those upper teeth back. We need to put on lower braces to get those teeth in position, causing everything to fit together nicely.

How Do you Keep the Space Closed?

1.) Surgery. A gum specialist can remove the muscle attachment and put it in a different place. This is a long-term fix. But, many patients don’t want a surgical procedure for their teeth to stay the way they want, so there’s another option.

2.) Gluing a wire behind the teeth to act as a permanent retainer.  The wire’s small, smooth, and low-profile, keeping the teeth together. But, it takes more diligence to keep it clean, requiring flossing under it like you would the braces. Fortunately, it’s just on your two front teeth. When you have a low muscle attachment, the wire keeps the teeth together once the space is closed.

How to Get Your Best Smile

While a smile is the best thing you can wear, some people find themselves self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth. If crooked or misshapen teeth make you want to hide your smile, our team of orthodontists in Stafford is here to help! We know just what it takes to bring out the beautiful smile in anyone, and will work to do whatever is necessary to give you a grin you’ll be proud to show! Contact us today and let us get you started on the road to a beautiful smile.

Beecroft Orthodontics

239 Garrisonville Rd. Suite #101 Stafford,Virginia

Phone: 540-659-6300
Fax: 540-288-0706

Diastema; Causes and Treatments

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