Magazine article USA TODAY

Bridging Gaps

Magazine article USA TODAY

Bridging Gaps

Article excerpt

Gaps between front teeth do not have to be permanent. There are several remedies, suggests Frank Miranda, assistant dean for clinical affairs and professor of operative dentistry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Dentistry.

To determine the best method of correction, the reason for the spacing must be determined. "The majority of instances is developmental. From this standpoint, as the teeth grow, there is simply more room than necessary to accommodate all of [them]. Therefore, gaps appear. Another reason may relate to the muscle attachment [frenum] found between the upper lip and the upper dental arch in the area of the two front teeth. Very large or fibrous attachments may contribute to splaying of the teeth in that area.

"Many times, orthodontic are which involves selective extraction creates more room to accommodate the teeth and that can cause space between the two front teeth. Gaps can also occur from bad habits such as continually picking one's teeth. ...Dental restorations that have become worn also may create extra spacing, as well as teeth that do not grow fully or that are malformed."

There are various approaches to fill in the gap. "One of the most conservative ways, which is a long-term procedure, is to orthodontically move the teeth together by a retainer appliance. …

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