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We have all heard the song, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” As many of us know, there is nothing worse than having lost your baby front teeth and waiting (with a big gap in your smile!) for your adult teeth to come in. However, some people find it is just as frustrating to have both of their front teeth, but still have a big gap in between them. Below are some very famous women who display their gap with pride. (Jessica Hart, Natalie Cole, Anna Paquin, and Lauren Hutton.
Why does this happen? If you want to find out, go to the nearest mirror. Grab your upper lip between your thumb and forefinger on both sides and pull it up (warning: you may feel a little silly doing this). If you look above your front teeth, exactly in the middle of your gums, you will see a small flap of tissue that connects your gums to the inside of your lip. Believe it or not, this little flap actually has a name—it has called a freneulum (or frenum for short), and it can be the reason you have a gap in your front teeth.
If your frenum is the right size and properly positioned on your gum line above your two front teeth, it serves the simple purpose of attaching your gums to your lip, and all is well. Your frenum is supposed to move upward when your baby teeth come in to make room. However, if the frenum is too large, attached in the wrong spot, or fails to move down like it should, it can cause problems. An incorrectly placed frenum can exert a pull or tension that prevents your front teeth from coming together the way they should. What makes this even more of an issue is the fact that braces can’t fix it! With the frenum in the way, your front teeth will never get to meet one another.
Fortunately, there is a way to solve the problem. There is a procedure known as a frenectomy, which is just a fancy word for reducing the size of your frenum. This limits the tension that keeps your teeth apart, and opens the door for braces to be placed to bring them back together in the right position. It is a very simple procedure performed by your orthodontist or dentist in the office. Your dentist just numbs your gums, removes a tiny bit of the frenum, and you are on your way. Now that lasers are often used for this surgery, it makes the whole thing even easier. There will be a few days of soreness afterwards while your tissue heals, but it is a small price to pay for bringing your front teeth together. After all, they make such a good pair, it’s a shame for them to be so far apart!
Sometimes however, front teeth are kept apart because of a jaw discrepancy where the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw causing the front teeth to spread apart. This is a problem of a completely different nature. If you or someone in your family has a space between their two front teeth that want to eliminate, Dr. Samuel Papandreas at Papandreas Orthodontics will be able to evaluate the problem and determine the best course of treatment to close the space. It may be much easier than you think.
Feel free to contact our office for a free new patient consultation and find out how we can create a beautiful new smile without an unsightly space between your teeth.
Dr. Papandreas is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Cleveland Dental Society, Ohio Dental Association and the Schulman Study Group of top orthodontic practices nationally.