Close-up of brunette smiling with a tooth gap

Mesial Tooth and Correcting Surface Gaps

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Do you have a space between your two front teeth? If you do, no worries. Though you may feel self-conscious about the gap, it's actually quite fashionable today. A space between the mesial surface of your two incisors, or your front two teeth, does not necessarily mean you need a dental correction. FYI: The mesial tooth surface is the side of the tooth that's closest to the center of your mouth's arch. However, if the gap is too wide or could pose a threat to your oral health, your dentist may recommend you get a correction.

As you read on, we'll look at the clinical understanding and possible causes of the gap between your teeth. We'll also examine how and why to move forward with a correction.

Diastema and Dental Health

First off, let's cover the basics. There's actually a term for the gap in between teeth. It's called a diastema, and it usually begins in childhood.

According to the State Government of Victoria, the most common cause for a space between teeth is when the frenulum sits lower than usual. The frenulum is the fold of skin that attaches the top lip to the upper gum. Other causes of gapped front teeth include natural development, small teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, a severe tongue-tie, or a large jaw.

If you're concerned about a gap in your teeth or your child's teeth, talk to your dentist. Most diastema doesn't cause harm to your oral health. However, the mesial tooth surface gap in your front teeth could result in a misaligned bite, so check in with your dentist to see their perspective on your gap. It's good to note that with children, the gap usually closes on its own as they get their adult teeth.

Treatment Options

If treatment is needed for your diastema, your dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist. As you may know, orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth and aligning your jaw. Your orthodontist may suggest the following options:

  • Braces. Braces are a fixed solution that will close the gap over time and align your teeth. Braces put pressure on your teeth so that they slowly move together, closing the gap. Invisible or removable braces may also fix some diastema. If your child needs braces for diastema, they'll need to wait until all of their adult teeth have come in. The treatment can take from 6-9 months, depending on the condition of your gap.
  • Tooth veneers. If your dentist or orthodontist determines that the gap is not causing any oral health concerns, and you'd like to fix your gap for cosmetic reasons, then veneers may be for you. Veneers are permanently placed on the front of your teeth to cover the gap and give the appearance of a straight smile. On average, the process takes around 3 weeks, from consultation to final placement.

Whether you're wearing braces, veneers, or simply choose to wear your gap-tooth smile with confidence, brushing two times a day and daily flossing should always be part of your oral regimen. Also, keep in mind that your teeth can continue to move through the years. So, be sure to stick to your orthodontist's long-term treatment plan so you can avoid a future gap that may lead to dental or gum problems down the road.

If you've been wondering how to correct a gap in your teeth, you now have some great information. A diastema between your two front teeth can look great and can cause no problems. But sometimes, having a gap there requires getting braces. If you don't have to get treated for your diastema and it's not your style, you can always opt into getting veneers. If you're ready to make a move, give your dentist or orthodontist a ring. You deserve to feel confident about your smile.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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