How to Tell if You Have Short Teeth?

Many people desire a beautiful smile, which includes nice teeth. It is common for patients to have cosmetic concerns such as the shape, color, size, position, and length of their teeth. The article below will discuss common symptoms and causes of small teeth.

Patients may notice that there is something off with their smile, however, it may be difficult to pinpoint the issue. It not always obvious that the teeth are smaller than normal, but it can certainly affect the appearance of your smile. The following are common symptoms of small teeth:

  • One or more teeth appear short compared to the gums or adjacent teeth
  • The teeth do not seem large enough to fill the mouth or the mouth seems too large in comparison to the teeth
  • The gums appear to be too big or long, sometimes patients describe their smile as being gummy
  • The teeth are positioned too low on the gums
  • One or more teeth are too small to fit together properly and contain large gaps
  • In severe cases, the patient has difficulty with routine activities such as eating and speaking


While this condition is often considered cosmetic in nature, it can cause bite issues and result in uneven wear of the teeth. Many patients are curious what can causes small teeth. Some of the most common factors which impact the size of the teeth include:

  • Genetic factors: Some patients naturally have smaller teeth and/or more pronounced gums. Patients with other people in their family who have small teeth are likely to be effected.
  • Tooth eruption: How the teeth grow can have an impact on their size and appearance. The eruption of the teeth is an active process where the teeth move through the gums. When there are issues or discrepancies with the tooth’s eruption, it can cause short teeth and more visible gums.
  • Certain medications: In some cases, medications can create gingival hyperplasia. Drug-induced gingival overgrowth (DIGO) or gingival enlargement can be a known side-effect of some drugs. These medications can include anticonvulsants, immunosuppressant, and calcium channel blockers. DIGO and impair proper dental hygiene and cause discomfort with chewing.
  • Orthodontic issues. Teeth which are crooked or misaligned can appear disproportionately small. It is suggested that 2 millimeters of required tooth size correction is an appropriate threshold for clinical significance. Many people have unresolved orthodontic issues.
  • Bruxism or chronic grinding of the teeth result in wear and slowly cause them to become shorter. In many cases, patients grind their teeth while they are sleeping and they are not even aware of the habit. One recent study suggested bruxism impacts nearly 10 percent of the general population. Patients who have teeth which unexpectedly appear smaller and suffer from symptoms such as headaches or jaw pain, may want to follow up with their dentist to determine if the issues are caused by bruxism.
  • Microdontia is a condition which impacts the size of a patient’s teeth. Microdontia is a term used to describe the condition of having abnormally small teeth. General microdontia involves teeth which are small. In this case, the crown of the tooth is short and there are significant gaps between the teeth. While it may seem the patient simply has slightly smaller teeth, the condition is actually more severe. Patients with microdontia often have teeth which do not touch one another. The small size of the teeth can also negatively affect the patient’s ability to properly speak and chew. Microdontia can affect one or two teeth within the mouth. In relative generalized microdontia, the teeth appear to be small due to a large jaw. True generalized microdontia causes all of the teeth to be smaller than normal. True generalized microdontia is rare and often associated with certain syndromes such as dwarfism.


If you are concerned with the size of your teeth, follow up with your dentist for an evaluation. The dentist can determine the cause, and discuss various treatment options.

What Causes Short Teeth