Some families have perfect portraits, with everyone standing together nicely and smiling brightly. Others always seem to have an issue. Someone is spaced out instead of looking at the camera, and standing a noticeable distance from the next person, ruining the effect. Some smiles are like that, too. The most common offenders are the two teeth in the middle of the upper arch. Every photo they are front and center – all spaced out and ruining your smile.
Why is there a gap?
Gapped teeth (called Diastema in medical terms) can develop for several reasons. The most common is a large jawbone. During childhood and adolescence, as your adult teeth are developing, your jawbone is growing. Ideally, the bone should stop growing when it is big enough for all of the teeth to fit side by side. If it keeps growing, the teeth separate.
Sometimes the bone is the right size, but teeth still develop with a gap. This can happen because of habits like thumb sucking or certain swallowing patterns. Occasionally the labial frenum (the tissue that connects your gums to your upper lip) is too large, pushing teeth apart. Sometimes the gap can develop later in life, often as a side effect of other oral health problems. For example, a missing tooth can make others shift, and gum disease can cause teeth to become loose.
Choosing a solution
For most patients, porcelain veneers are a great option. They can be designed slightly wider than your natural teeth, effectively closing the gap. This is a great option if you have other cosmetic complaints about your teeth. Veneers are a great all-in-one treatment, capable of resizing, recoloring, re-contouring and more. We can place two veneers on the gapped teeth or several veneers and correct other teeth as well.
Depending on the cause of the gap, and the condition of your teeth, there may be other potential solutions. Dental bonding may be an option. It is usually faster and more economical, but less durable than porcelain. Invisalign or other orthodontic treatments may be recommended if there are other misalignment issues.
We will perform a comprehensive examination before presenting your options. Call Big Smile Dental in Chicago at and schedule an appointment today.