Healthy Smile: Why Has My Front Tooth Grown Longer?

by Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD of The Healthy Smile

My title is a common question and usually has a partner question. “Why Do I Have Spaces Between My Teeth?” Whenever I hear either of these questions, bells and whistles go off in my head. However, I need to ask some of my questions before I jump to any conclusions. The basis of both questions is that something has changed over time. Most changes over time we can’t see. It isn’t easy to see a flower grow. We look, and one day it is noticeably different than before. We remember what it was, and now we see a change.

Well, the same thing happens with our teeth. They are constantly in a state of flux. They move and are worn over time. We never see this until we reach a point where it is distinctly different from what we remember. However, my job is to determine what is considered normal change and what is not in the area of the mouth.

However, the longer tooth and the spacing are not a natural result of time; it usually occurs because the supporting structures, the gums, and the bone, become weaker. A tooth is held in your mouth because it is anchored to some bone and covered with pink gum tissue. When this bone and gum become inflamed and diseased, they start to wear away. We call this loss of gum and bone periodontal disease. This disease causes a progressive loosening of the tooth, which eventually can move. If this movement is forward, then we develop a space. We have a long tooth if this movement is away from the bone.

In this day and age of smartphones, we no longer have to look for a camera. It is attached to our phone. We take pictures of everything and everyone around us. . . and of course, we take pictures of ourselves. We look at the picture and notice that we no longer look the way we once did. This is the time when we notice the discrepancies in our teeth that have happened slowly and minutely over time. Spacing and longer teeth fall into this category of slow change we may notice when we take pictures of ourselves. This series of events is what happened to my patient. She had not been to see me for a couple of years due to Covid, and a recent picture prompted the call to me.

So how do we correct her problem? The first step is to stop the disease process. Removing all the tartar and plaque on your teeth and gums will stop the destructive process. A diet low in junk food and sweets will create less plaque accumulation on your teeth. Food changes are one way to keep the disease from coming back. Regular preventive checkups and cleanings are crucial to keeping you on your game and free of infection. Once the disease is halted, we still have the unsightly long tooth or spaces that were never there.

Modern dentistry now comes to the rescue. In less than an hour, I solved her cosmetic problem. Bonding, veneers, and metal-free crowns will transform the ugly duckling image into a thing of beauty. We can close spaces, even the teeth, and create a pleasing smile for everyone to admire.

Color matching is better than ever on the road to creating a beautiful result. We develop natural looks that we never imagined possible in the past. Computer imaging and design by a state-of-the-art practice and laboratory allow the dentist to create a transformation while you are right in the office. In my practice, I always involve the patient in the decision making process to create the smile they desire. We talk about it together and make a decision together—no surprises for anyone. We see ahead of time what the final result will be.

So if you notice things in your mouth are starting to change in a direction, you would not like to go, pick up the phone and give me a call. I am more than happy to talk to you and give you some suggestions to make you happy. Call me at 440.892.1810. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

The Healthy Smile • 27239 Wolf Road, Bay Village, OH 44140 • 440-892-1810 •

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