Having a gap between your teeth can be embarrassing for many people. Known medically as diastema, this condition usually involves the two front teeth of a person's upper jaw. If you have diastema, here are some of the common causes of gap teeth and how the problem can be treated.
Causes of Diastema
Several conditions can cause a gap between the teeth, such as:
- Tooth size discrepancy—Teeth that are too small in proportion to the jawbone can result in a space between teeth.
- Thumb sucking in childhood—This bad habit can shove the front teeth forward, forming a gap.
- Improper swallowing reflex—While most people swallow by their tongue pressing against the roof of their palate, others swallow with the tongue pressed against their front teeth. This eventually causes the front teeth to push forward, creating a gap between teeth.
- Gum (periodontal) disease—Because of bone loss from gum disease, teeth can loosen, resulting in a space. If a gap is caused by periodontal disease, your dentist will probably refer you to a periodontist for treatment.
- An oversized labial frenum—When this tissue is too large, it can prevent the space between your two front teeth from closing naturally, creating a gap between the teeth.
Dentists have several ways to treat this condition, including using:
- Composite bonding, crowns and veneers—These treatments are typically used for small lateral incisors.
- Bridge work or dental implants—Dentists usually use these treatments for correcting larger gaps.
- Braces—Some patients use braces to move their teeth closer together, which closes the gap. However, regardless of the location of your gap, you have to wear braces on both your lower and upper teeth. This is because when you move teeth, your entire mouth is affected. .
- Surgery—A frenectomy is a procedure done when a large labial frenum is the reason for the gap. The gap may close naturally when the surgery is performed on younger children. On the other hand, braces may be needed when this procedure is done on older children or adults.
Mouth tumors or bones in the jaw can also cause gaps between teeth. Therefore, be sure to promptly see a dentist when noting any type of unusual growth that occurs in your mouth.
Not everyone with gap teeth considers it a detriment. In fact, it can even be cute and stylish. Celebrities such as Canadian-born actress, Anna Paquin, and others have actually kept their gap teeth. But if it's interfering with your life and you find yourself not smiling, you don't have to settle for this condition. Don't hesitate to see your dentist at places like Linwell Park Dental Centre to discuss the various treatment options.