Why is There So Much Empty Space on the Sides of my Smile? (photo)

It's like my mouth is too big for my teeth.

Doctor Answers 5

Empty Space on the Sides of My Smile

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I am so glad you asked that question. The empty space is called a Deficient "Buccal Corridor". It does make the smile look esthetically incomplete. From your picture, you also appear to have protruded, large incisors. The esthetics of your smile can be improved with orthodontics to widen the arch and align the teeth for an esthetic smile consistent with your face. For someone else, Porcelain Veneers would be a better solution.

Memphis Dentist


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Narrow appearance of the upper a dental arch can be inherited,  it can result from environmental and breathing issues causing consistent mouth breathing, and undesirable habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting during early development.   Orthodontic treatment by an orthodontist who is very aware of these issues and works hard to correct them is probably the most desirable approach particularly if there are some other issues as well that need attention.

The Damon System is one that I find is especially good at helping resolve these problems.  We are often able to achieve the needed expansion without having to resort the the Rapid Palatal Expander screw type applinces used more in the past.   It is also a good idea to take a frontal cephalometric x-ray and actually measure jaw width.  A  cone beam CT scan can help get good information about the root angulation in the frontal view to help decide what the most effective method for adjusting the arch form should be.    

Clark L. Jones, DDS, MSD
Phoenix Orthodontist

Why Do I Have "Empty Space" on the Sides of My Smile

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your dental arches and in particular your upper arch are very narrow and this creates the appearance of extra space on the sides of your smile.  This can be corrected to an extent with veneers to build the teeth out and create a broader and more natural looking smile.  The other option is orthodontic treatment to widen your arches.  This has an added advantage over cosmetic dentistry in that this widening of the arches creates more space for your tongue and can be a great help in your sleep breathing and prevention of future sleep apnea and snoring issues.

Why is their so much empty space on the side of my mouth?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

We call that the dark space usually due to upper arch being to narrow it can be corrected by building out area with veneers good luck.


Kevin Coughlin DMD, MBA, MAGD     CEO Baystate Dental PC.

Kevin Coughlin, DMD
Springfield Dentist

Empty space = large "Buccal Corridor"

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The reason for the empty spaces on the sides is the fact that your smile is too narrow.  This happens with the upper arch is not fully expanded.  There are two solutions. 

1)  Orthodontically expand the posterior teeth this will move the teeth outwards and fill in those spaces.

2)  Restoratively fill in those spaces by building out the premolar teeth on the side using veneers or bonding.

A great aesthetic dentist will be able to help you achieve the perfect balanced smile.


Dan Hagi, DDS
Toronto Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.