Dental Treatment

That Gap in Your Teeth: To Fix or Leave Alone?

Dental health has recently taken the turn towards aesthetics over health. I know that dentists still care about your dental health over all else, but they’re having to cater more and more towards “a great smile” rather than “healthy teeth.” The fact that the wording around the marketing has changed to this in the past two decades shows what kind of grip outward appearance and “beauty” has done to so much of our society.

Still, I can’t be upset that people care so much about their teeth now for looks. At the very least, this means their dental health is much better than it would be otherwise.

One thing that’s quite in line with having dental procedures done for looks is having gaps fixed. People in ancient times used to look at gaps in teeth differently, as either lucky or a sign of sexual experience (I’m not joking here). Nowadays, however, it’s seen more as an unsightly mark on someone’s smile, and it’s quite unfortunate that we view it as such. The few people I knew or know that have gaps are wonderful people and beautiful in their own ways. So then you may be asking what causes them. Why are they a thing?

More often than not, these gaps typically form between the upper two incisors of most people. And sometimes the size of our jaw bones don’t match up with the size of our teeth, which can cause extra extra space between teeth. On the other hand, teeth are just sometimes missing or undersized in general, which can affect the upper lateral incisors more than any other teeth. Similarly, an oversized labial frenum — the flap of tissue that goes from inside the back of your upper lip to the gum just above your two upper front teeth — can be the cause. This is because the tissue continues to grow and actually passes between the upper middle incisors, which can block the teeth from closing naturally. It would only make sense that a gap would then be left behind.

Even still a swallowing reflex that is abnormal can cause a gap. Since most people press their tongue against their palate when swallowing, the teeth can grow in normally. But some people actually develop a different swallow reflex that is seen as a sort of tongue thrust, which is when they swallow and the tongue actually presses against the front teeth.

No matter what the cause is, a lot of people try to get theirs fixed. I encourage you to do whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy with your body, but I also want that to mean you recognize beauty is whatever you want it to be, not what others do or project.