Many are surprised to learn that the extra space, or gap between teeth has a name. Medically speaking, it is called a Diastema, and while many children experience diastema when their primary teeth begin to fall out, diastemas may also occur for other reasons.
When there is a discrepancy in the size of teeth, a diastema may form. This often stems from a jawbone that is disproportionate to the size of a patient’s teeth. For the most part, if the teeth are too small, an extra space will develop. On the other hand, when teeth are too large, they may become crowded. In another case, when teeth are missing, adjacent teeth may begin to move apart. For example, when top lateral incisors are missing, a space may form between the top two teeth.
Another instance in which a diastema may form is when the labial frenum is oversized. To explain, this is the small strand of tissue that connects the inside of the upper lip to the gums above the top front teeth. Over time, if the labial frenum continues to enlarge, a space forms between the top front teeth.
Tongue thrusting represents another possible contributor to a diastema. When an individual swallows, the tongue should press against the top or roof of the mouth. However, in some cases, the tongue pushes instead against the front teeth. This is known as “thrusting,” and it can result in the teeth moving apart.
Should I Seek Treatment For A Diastema?
For some, a diastema is simply a mark on one’s personality, and without any threat to the individual’s oral health, they choose to keep it. Yet, dental professionals note that it depends on the age of the patient, the root cause of their spacing, and their oral and overall health. As a rule, when spacing or gaps between teeth cause oral health to fail, or if bone loss is a concern, it is best to seek treatment.
Treatment for diastema may be found in orthodontic care (for teens or young patients), or in restorative or cosmetic dental treatments such as veneers, dental bonding, dental implants, or bridgework (mostly for adult patients). If a patient has a labrial frenum that is too large, they may be referred to a periodontist for a simple surgical procedure called a frenectomy.
Make Well-Informed Decisions About Your Oral Health
At Precision Digital Dentistry in Bridgewater, patients find a dental team that is committed to helping them make well-informed decisions about their oral health. Thus, if you have a diastema, and you have questions about possible treatment, we invite you to call today.