What are the Causes of Gaps in Teeth?

Even if there are gaps in teeth, it is important to know how those gaps arose, because that largely determines which treatments are possible.

  • The gaps in teeth have always been present because the jaws are wide and there is too much space for the teeth.
  • Gaps in teeth are caused by inflammation of the gums and jawbone (periodontitis).
  • Caused by a wrong position of the jaws in relation to each other.
  • Caused by a wrong speaking or swallowing habit.

gaps in teeth everywhere

Gaps in teeth due to an excess of space in the jaws

Your jaws are too wide for your teeth, or your teeth are too narrow for your jaws. Most people with such so-called diastema teeth are not bothered by the gaps in teeth, but are happy with them. There will rarely be cavities between their teeth, their teeth are very easy to keep clean. If you still have difficulty with this position, there are options for treatment. However, it is not very simple. It may seem simple to pull all teeth together with braces, but unfortunately this is not always an option. You may still be able to pull it together, but will the teeth remain in their new position? That depends on the occlusion, the way your top and bottom teeth fit together. And that’s something your dentist or orthodontist will have to look at for you.

In addition, the width of your teeth is important; it often occurs with diastema teeth that the teeth are quite narrow. With the spaces in between, this gives a normal picture. However, if you put these narrow teeth tightly together, it can start to look strange. This is also something to take into account before starting a treatment.

If the teeth are on the narrow side, filling the gaps is a good option. This can be done with composite or porcelain facings. The filling will make all teeth look wider. It can be estimated in advance whether this will be nice, by making a set-up or by image manipulation.


A set-up is a set of plaster models of your teeth, on which the treatment has already been performed. Before making a set-up, your dentist will first take dental impressions of your upper and lower jaw to record your current situation. Plaster models are made of these dental impressions in the technique office. Often the models are also duplicated (a second set is made), so that eventually models with your current situation continue to exist, and models on which your dentist “does the treatment”. So you get to see on the plaster models how your teeth will be after treatment. However, it is difficult to determine how it will look in your face, especially for a layman. Because there are no cheeks and lips around the plaster model, the plaster teeth always look very large.

set of plaster models with teeth

Image manipulation

Image manipulation gives a much better idea of the situation after treatment, but not every dentist will have options for this in practice. For image manipulation, a digital photo of your face is taken, with a wide smile, so that your teeth are clearly visible. This image is processed on the computer in such a way that it looks like your teeth have already been treated. So you can see your own face as it will be after treatment. The following applies to both image manipulation and set-up: the result is never one hundred percent equal to the treatment result. It remains an indication.

The gaps in teeth are caused by periodontal disease

If the gaps between your teeth are caused by periodontal disease, the periodontal disease will have to be treated first and then the cosmetic treatment can be started. In essence, the same applies to this situation as this article described “Gap In Front Teeth“. you can find further information there about periodontal disease.

Gaps in teeth by a wrong bite

If gaps have developed between all the front teeth at a later age, you probably have a so-called fanning front teeth.

fanning front teeth

Your upper teeth were always a bit further forward, so that your lower teeth were against your upper gums. That is the cause of your current tooth position. Your lower teeth bite your upper teeth, as it were. The solution is not simple in this case either. Just straightening the teeth or closing the gaps in teeth makes no sense. This means that the cause, the wrong bite, has not been removed. The first thing to do is change your bite so that the lower teeth no longer touch the gums behind your upper teeth. That can be done in different ways:

  • Raising your molars;
  • Orthodontics;
  • Operative;
  • A combination of orthodontics and surgery.

Which way is best for you depends on many factors, for example the health of your teeth, whether there are many restorations, your age and of course your choice. You may already be sure you don’t want braces or surgery. You will need to consult your dentist and / or orthodontist to make a final choice. Be sure to discuss all alternatives, including those that seem less attractive to you at first glance. Then you will at least be able to make a well-founded decision.

Raising the bite

The cause of your teeth standing forward is therefore biting the gums behind your upper teeth with your lower teeth.

lower teeth bite the upper gums

The cause of your teeth standing forward is therefore biting the gums behind your upper teeth with your lower teeth.

To fix this, your bite needs to be raised so that your lower teeth don’t reach that far. Your dentist will first test whether you can tolerate this. Your jaw joints have been used to this deep bite for years. The testing is done with a dental splint or bite plate: a hard plastic plate that fits exactly on all your upper teeth. You will have to wear this for at least two weeks to prevent cramps, joint complaints or headaches from the changed jaw position. If you pass this test well, the treatment can begin.

The options for raising your bite are:

  • Apply a layer on the molars;
  • Pull the molars further out of the tooth socket, using orthodontics.

There are several ways to apply a layer on the molars. Building with composite is a fairly simple, good option. The disadvantage is that composite wears out and the bite increase therefore disappears over time.

The raising can also be made by so-called onlays, new porcelain tops for your molars, which are glued to the existing chewing surfaces. The advantage of this is that these restorations last much longer and are much more wear resistant. Porcelain onlays are more expensive than composite enhancements. For both types of restoration, the molars must be quite intact. If there are already major restorations in the teeth, it may be more sensible to increase the bite by means of crowns. A combination of these three is also possible. It will depend on the state of your molars now and on your financial capabilities.

A porcelain onlay is made in the same way as an inlay. The difference: an onlay is on top of the molar, an inlay is largely in the molar.

If your teeth and molars are quite intact and you do not yet have major restorations, such as bridges, orthodontics is a good option. Removable equipment, a loose bracket, is not possible in this complicated case.

Which molars are going to be repositioned, those of the lower jaw or those of the upper jaw? That depends on a number of factors. Among other things, the position of your jaws in relation to each other and the position of your jaws in relation to your lips. The dentist or orthodontist will explain this to you during the treatment. Incidentally, it does not matter much to you. If you get braces, this is in the majority of cases in the upper jaw and the lower jaw. The reason for this is that the position of the lower teeth and molars is related to the position of the upper teeth and molars. It is not without reason that people talk about the teeth and jaw system. So you cannot change something in the upper jaw with impunity without adjusting the lower jaw, and vice versa.

As soon as space has been made between the upper and lower teeth, by raising the molars, repositioning the upper teeth can begin. This is done by means of a bracket. If the bite is also raised by means of orthodontics, it is easy to continue working.

Gaps in teeth are caused by a wrong speaking or swallowing habit

open bite

In this case, dental or orthodontic treatment has little effect, first the cause, the wrong habit, must be unlearned. Often the help of a speech therapist is called in, who will teach you to speak and / or swallow in a different way. Sometimes aids are used, such as a special plate to ensure that your tongue no longer gets between your teeth when swallowing or when pronouncing certain letters. Only when your wrong oral habits have been unlearned, treating the abnormal tooth position will have a lasting result.

Source Colgate Healthline MedicalNewsToday
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