An orthodontist doesn't just handle the realignment of all your teeth, since some people only require localized adjustments. If the gap between your upper central incisors is bothering you, and even seems to be widening (and more about that in a moment), you might be wondering if your smile can be improved by narrowing that gap. How is this achieved, and are there any potential complications to the process?
The Roots of Your Teeth
Your orthodontist will first determine whether the corrective work is actually possible. A radiograph will be performed to assess the strength of the roots of the teeth to be repositioned, for bone remodeling to be successful. This is when the pace of the orthodontic treatment allows for the jaw bone to regrow around the teeth as they move. How the projected new position of your upper teeth affects your lower teeth will also be investigated, to ensure that your new bite structure won't compromise these lower teeth in any way.
Whether or not the gap is widening will play a role in the eventual success of your treatment. This gap can be influenced by tongue thrusting, which is when the movement of your tongue creates pressure on your upper central incisors, contributing to the gap. If this is a factor, you will need corrective treatment. Otherwise, the gap will simply form again, despite your orthodontic treatment.
There's something else that can reverse this localized orthodontic treatment, and that's your frenulum labii superioris. This is the frenulum of your upper lip, which is a small ridge of gingival tissue extending from between your upper central incisors and into the lip. When this is prominent, it can be contributing to the prominence of your gap and might require removal. This removal is a very minor surgical procedure but can be necessary for the long-term success of your treatment.
Once these various hurdles have been overcome, your orthodontist can begin your treatment. This is more traditional orthodontic work and may involve transparent aligners, dental braces for your upper dental arch, or a specially fabricated removable orthodontic appliance which you will wear for a certain number of hours each day, as per your orthodontist's instructions.
There can be a few obstacles to be addressed before your gap can be closed, but these won't prevent you from reaching your final goal. For more guidance, contact a local orthodontist.