How To Fix Gaps In Front Teeth Caused By Gum Recession

Fix gaps caused by gum recession

If gum recession has caused your front teeth to drift apart it may have altered the way you look. It may have altered your unique smile and the way you talk. However big or small the gap, it can make you feel self-conscious. This may cause you to hide your smile and avoid talking in public. You may be wondering if you can fix gaps caused by gum recession.

There’s good news! There are several ways to fix the gap in your front teeth caused by gum recession. Dental bonding, Invisalign, periodontal treatment, and dental veneers.

Read on to find out how gum recession causes the teeth to move and how to fix the gap.

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Did Gum Recession Cause The Gap Between My Teeth?

There are several reasons that a gap can occur between the front teeth. These include

  • Incorrect swallowing reflex: when you have an incorrect swallowing reflex the tongue presses against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth. Over time the repeated pressure on the teeth causes them to be pushed forward and a gap appears.
  • Habits: tongue thrusting, lip and thumb sucking can also cause the front teeth to push forwards over time.
  • Injury: falls or blows to the face can sometimes result in damage to, and recession of the structures holding the teeth in place. This can cause the teeth to migrate and the formation of gaps. 
  • Gum disease: advanced periodontal disease is the most likely cause of tooth migration. It’s triggered by plaque bacteria that initially results in red, swollen and inflamed gums. As the disease progresses the structures under the gum line also become irritated and the alveolar bone shrinks. As the bone shrinks back the gum tissue recedes exposing tooth roots and these structures no longer hold the teeth securely in place. The teeth can drift apart, extend forwards or fall out.   

Most causes have no severe consequence (other than changes in the aesthetics of your smile). However, gum disease, which is often the underlying cause of gum recession and gaps appearing between the teeth can lead to tooth loss. 

Why Fix the Gap?

There are several reasons:

  • Aesthetics – if the gap bothers you
  • Pronunciation of words – if the gaps make you whistle when you talk or make it hard to pronounce certain words.
  • Risk of chipped or cracked teeth – a misaligned bite can cause damage to your teeth
  • Jaw pain – a misaligned bite can exacerbate or lead to pain or discomfort in the mouth and jaw. 
  • Improved oral hygiene – food can get trapped between the teeth or prevent you from maintaining good oral hygiene. This can lead to periodontal disease and more gum recession.

How To Fix the Gap Caused by Gum Recession

There are several ways to fix the gap between your front teeth. These include

  • Composite bonding: This is often the quickest and most economical way to fix a gap between the teeth. Some dental practices may refer to this procedure as dental or cosmetic bonding
  • Dental veneers: these wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored porcelain are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their overall shape and appearance.
  • Braces or clear aligner therapy: orthodontic treatment can be used to gently move the teeth towards each other, closing the gap.


Treating Gum Disease

Knowledge is power where beating gum disease is concerned. Gum Disease: Solved online education tool arms you with the information to understand why you have gum disease and how you can beat it in only 10 minutes per day at home, without the need for costly and ineffective dental visits.

Beat Gum Disease Now

In some instances treating the gum disease can naturally result in the teeth returning to their original location.  

The majority of treatment for gum disease occurs at home with self-care therapies which include brushing the teeth twice a day and carefully cleaning the interdental spaces. 

In addition to developing and maintaining good oral hygiene, professional gum health treatments may be needed.  Depending on the severity of your gum disease you may require non-surgical or surgical treatments over several weeks to disrupt plaque bacteria from above and below the gum line. 

For any treatment to be effective it’s beneficial to make the mouth less hospitable to plaque. This can be achieved by

  • Stopping smoking
  • Controlling blood sugars if diabetic
  • Limiting the consumption of sugary foods and drinks to meal times – removes the plaques food source
  • Sipping water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated and wash plaque away.

In summary

Gum recession leading to gaps appearing between the teeth is usually the result of gum disease. Gum disease causes the loss of alveolar bone and structures below the gum line that hold the teeth firmly and securely in place. 

The loss of supporting structures can cause the teeth to protrude or drift apart resulting in a gap between the teeth. Cosmetic treatments are available to fix. Gum disease must be treated first.

If a gap has appeared between your front teeth as a result of gum recession, treating the underlying gum disease is essential to prevent its progression. You can find more great tips about treating gum disease at home here.

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Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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