What is Diastema?
Diastema is a condition where you have a noticeable gap between teeth. It is found in both kids and adults. The gap in teeth can be amongst any teeth. But the gap in the front teeth is more visible. Sometimes this gap gets filled on its own with the eruption of permanent teeth in kids.
It is merely an aesthetic concern for some people, but it can pose serious dental health threats for others. Read on to know about causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment of diastema.
What Causes Diastema?
Following are the possible causes of diastema:-
- Natural Growth
Sometimes, gapped front teeth are the result of natural growth in kids. It is pretty common between the age group of 6-8 years. But this gap disappears in most cases with the formation of upper canines.
- Abnormal Position, Size & Shape of Teeth
If the shape, size, and position of your teeth are unusual, the possibility of gap increases. These teeth can’t get the required pressure and support from each other to prevent them from drifting apart.
- Missing Teeth
The most common occurrence of missing teeth is underdeveloped or missing surrounding teeth of your upper front teeth. They are also called upper lateral incisors. This condition leads to gapped front teeth.
- Outgrown Labial Frenum
The labial frenum is a tissue covering the inside of the upper lip and the gum above the upper front teeth. If this tissue outgrows, it can lead to a gap in teeth.
A gap between your teeth can also be the result of periodontitis. It is a kind of gum disease or infection that damages the tissues and teeth bone. As a result, your teeth get loose and form a gap.
- Improper Swallowing Reflex
Correct swallowing reflexes make your tongue press against the roof of the mouth. In contrast, incorrect swallowing pushes your tongue against your front teeth. This constant pressure can eventually convert into gapped front teeth.
- Wrong Habits
Bad habits like biting lower lips and sucking the thumb or finger can cause diastema in a kid. And an adult can invite it by having a tongue piercing. The pierced stud can disturb the formation of front teeth by budging them constantly.
- Falling of Baby Teeth
A gap between teeth can emerge due to the falling of baby or permanent teeth. But these kinds of gaps close with the eruption of permanent teeth.
The most striking sign of diastema is a gap between the teeth. Apart from that, you may also notice any of the following symptoms:-
- Receding Gums
- Swollen & Tender Gums
- Bad Breath
- Bleeding Gums
- Loose Teeth
- Bright Red Gums
The treatment is not needed if the diastema is temporary due to falling off the baby’s teeth. It is also not required if it’s not posing any dental health risk. However, you may choose to treat it solely for cosmetic reasons. If you wish to get treatment for diastema, here are your possible options:-
Treatment with braces for gapped teeth is quite common. It treats diastema by putting pressure on the teeth for them to come closer to each other. You may require to wear a complete set of braces even if there is only one gap to fill.
Veneers are the thin piece of porcelain material that is put on the surface of your teeth. It is custom-made for each patient. It is generally helpful in the case of diastema caused by undersized teeth.
- Invisalign Treatment
Invisalign are known to correct gapped and misaligned teeth. This treatment is ideal for all age groups. Invisalign aligners are a popular alternative to braces as they are virtually invisible to others.
- Dental Implants
In case of missing teeth, you need to be treated with a dental implant. It is also known as a dental bridge. It is a replacement of your teeth which is attached by inserting a metal screw in your jawbones. A device is also connected to either side of the teeth gap for support
- Gum Disease Treatment
When you get diastema because of gum disease, the dentist needs to treat it first. Otherwise, the spreading infection can lead to tooth loss. The gum disease treatment involves removing tartar from your gums.
- Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is helpful in teeth gap filling when the gap is because of one or more smaller teeth. In this treatment, the resin is applied to the surface of your teeth. And it is hardened with the help of light rays.
- Orthodontic Surgery
If your diastema results from an abnormal frenum or a cyst, you might need to undergo orthodontic surgery. The surgery will extract the excess tissue. The orthodontic treatment can be started after the surgery only.
You can’t prevent diastema because of natural causes. However, on your part, you can make some lifestyle changes to reduce its risk.
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss once a day
- Help your kids to break their bad habits like thumb-sucking.
- Teach your kid proper swallowing reflexes
- Go for professional dental cleaning & regular dental check-ups.
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Don’t hesitate to visit the orthodontist if you notice any sign of diastema in yourself or in your child. The gap between teeth might not be troublesome upfront. But a visit to the orthodontist is required to rule out any underlying dental health problem.