While most of us are familiar with the distinct look of a smile with a gap between the front two teeth, gaps and spaces can occur between any two teeth. Medically known as Diastema, gaps between teeth may form for a number of reasons.
When the size of the jawbone is disproportionate to the size of an individual’s teeth, two things may happen. First, extra spaces may develop (if teeth are too small). On the other hand, teeth may become crowded (if teeth are too large). Though no symptoms are usually reported when extra spaces form, it’s a good idea to learn about other causes of a Diastema, as well as options for treatments.
When teeth are missing or undersized, spaces may form. For instance, when the top lateral incisors (teeth next to the top front teeth) are missing, the top two front teeth tend to pull apart. When teeth are missing, the greatest dental concern is bone loss.
A Diastema may also be caused by a labial frenum that is large. This is the thin tissue connecting the inside of the upper lip to the gums above the top front teeth. If the labial frenum continues to expand, a space will form and continue to widen. The concern here is that teeth may begin pressing on surrounding teeth, resulting in crowding.
Tongue thrust as well as Periodontal (Gum) Disease may also cause a Diastema. When an individual swallows, the tongue presses against the roof of the mouth. Yet, in some, the tongue may press forward against the front teeth. This “thrusting” can push teeth apart. In the case of Periodontal (Gum) Disease, individuals may experience bone loss, depending on the severity of tooth and gum decay. When bone is lost, teeth are not easily supported. They will become loose and begin to move or shift, resulting in spaces or gaps.
Does A Diastema Require Treatment?
When it comes to treatment of Diastema, it depends on the age of the person, the potential cause of spacing, and their oral health. To explain, children that have a Diastema often discover that it corrects itself when permanent teeth erupt. For older children and teens, orthodontic treatment may be needed. If teeth size is a concern, restorative and cosmetic dental treatments are an option, including veneers, bonding, and dental implants and bridges. Thus, a Diastema doesn’t always require treatment. As a rule, if spacing or gaps between teeth are making good oral care difficult, or if bone loss is a concern, treatment is probably best.
Dr. Leia Porcaro at Grateful Dental is fully committed to your oral health. With a comprehensive approach, Dr. Porcaro helps patients understand their options so that they can make well-informed decisions about their dental treatments. Do you have a Diastema? Is it a concern of yours? Call Grateful Dental today.