A diastema, or a gap teeth, can occur between any teeth and usually does not impact dental health negatively. However, when a patient has a gap between front teeth, the patient might be unhappy with the smile he shows others. A patient can pursue a few different treatment options to correct or eliminate this gap.
A diastema has many causes. It can be caused by teeth that are too small in proportion to the jaw bone, allowing space to be created. It can also be caused by missing teeth or severely undersized teeth that allow the adjacent teeth to spread out and leave open spaces between the other teeth. Usually, this is the cause of a gap between front teeth. Another cause is a labial frenum that is oversized. This little piece of tissue is normally located from just inside the upper lip to area above the two front teeth. When the tissue does not stop there and grows past into the area between the two front teeth, a space is created.
The fraenum or fraenulum that attaches the top lip to the upper portion of the gum is called the maxillary labial fraenum. An abnormally low maxillary labial fraenum is the most common cause of gapped front teeth in the upper jaw. This gap is called maxillary diastema. The abnormal fraenum is attached so low on the gum-line that it props apart the two front teeth.
It is important to close your gap because a tooth gap can cause tooth misalignment. A large tooth gap between the front teeth could leave insufficient room for the ones next to the front teeth. This may cause tooth displacement and problems with the bite. Another reason is self-consciousness. Some people may feel embarrassed, and reluctant to smile with parted lips.
Why do gaps develop between teeth?
Other than normal sizing issues, there are other reasons why gaps may form:
- Tumor growths. A gap can be a sign of a serious medical or dental condition. Tumor growths may need to be treated surgically.
- Gum disease.Gum disease, which results in a loss of bone that supports the teeth, may be prevented by regular brushing and flossing. However, if a gap is forming as a result of gum disease, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Self-inflicted behavior. These gaps occur when people push their tongue against their front teeth when swallowing or as a result of ‘mouth jewelry’. This pushes teeth forward and makes small gaps bigger. Again, if a small gap is getting bigger, have your dentist check it.
- Mismatch between size of jaw bones and teeth – If teeth are too small for the jaw, there will be gaps between teeth.
- Missing teeth
- Undersized teeth
- An oversized labial frenum—the tissue that extends from inside the upper lip to the gums above the two upper front teeth—or one that continues to grow can lead to tooth gaps.
- Thumb sucking puts pressure on teeth making them move forward resulting in gaps.
- Loss of bone due to gum disease can make gaps because teeth become loose.
- Gaps between teeth after baby teeth fall out
Gapped front teeth in the upper jaw close by themselves in many cases. Generally, a baby’s teeth start to erupt between six and nine months. At this early age, the front teeth could be gapped and the maxillary labial fraenum attached low to the gum. By the time the child reaches its first birthday, the fraenum has probably shortened, and the eruption of more teeth has closed any gaps. If the adult front teeth are gapped, the eruption of molars helps to crowd the front teeth together. About one in 10 children have gapped adult front teeth that don’t close by themselves.
Treatment for Gap Teeth:
A gap between front teeth can be treated cosmetically or orthodontically. When the diastema is part of bigger set of dental issues of teeth misalignment, the patient can wear braces to correct all the issues. Even if the braces are used to focus on correcting the gap, the patient will most likely wear braces on both upper and lower teeth, since the alignment of all the teeth will change with the movement of some teeth.
Perfect your smile:
- Bonding: If the space between teeth is relatively small, dental bonding can be a solution. In dental bonding, a resin-based substance is applied to the tooth, sculpted and shaped to fill in gaps. This process forms the tooth to the overall look of your mouth. Often, bonding can be completed in one dental visit.
- Veneers: Fixing bigger gaps may require reshaping. With veneers, the tooth is shaved down to provide a surface that can be covered with porcelain, which is then specifically shaped to match surrounding teeth.
- Traditional Braces: Orthodontic braces are the most widely used method to help tighten teeth and eliminate gaps. This process can take several years.
- Invisalign Braces: Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic retainer-like devices to gradually realign the positioning of teeth. This discrete process can take anywhere from several months to several years and is generally more expensive than traditional braces.
Gaps occasionally reopen after the treatment appliance is removed. In some cases, the abnormal fraenum is thought to be responsible without the pressure of braces, the fraenum simply pushes the teeth apart again.
Treatments depend on the cause, before treating your dentist will have to find out the reason for the gaps. Your dentist is the best person who can guide you on what steps you can take to correct the gaps between teeth.
Schedule a visit with Dr. Paventy of Spokane Orthodontics by calling:
520 S. Cowley
Spokane, Wa 99216
102 W 11th Ave.
Post Falls, ID 83854
212 W. Birch
Colville, WA 99114