In football, a successful offensive team runs through the “A” gap with ease. But when it comes to dentistry, like a good defense, you want to close that gap.
Have you heard of diastema? Diastema is a fancy word for “gap in the teeth.” Gaps are most common between the two upper front teeth (central incisors) but can occur between any two teeth, and chances are you’ve seen someone with one, or maybe you have one yourself. Or perhaps you had one before your braces.
While gaps are generally pretty standard, they are often considered unsightly, leading people with gaps to seek treatment. Gaps in the teeth can negatively affect self-esteem, which can negatively impact your social life. If you have diastema, don’t worry. So did Zac Efron and many other celebrities before their braces. But why do some people have gaps? What’s the cause, and what are the treatment options?
There are many causes of diastema, including genetics, having relatively small teeth in relation to your jawline, misalignment, having an oversized labial frenum, tongue thrust, or bad habits such as thumb sucking. Diastema can also be present due to missing teeth. Approximately two-thirds of children have diastema in their baby teeth, which often goes away once the adult teeth grow fully.
Luckily, gaps in the teeth do not pose any real threat to your oral health. However, many people seek treatment to close the gaps to enhance their smiles significantly. We know that improving your smile can boost your self-confidence more than ever. It’s incredible how our teeth can give us the spark of confidence we need to put ourselves out there and take risks. Here are the four most common treatment options for diastema.
Braces and Aligners
Good, old-fashioned braces can sometimes do the trick. Braces/aligners can treat specific cases of diastema. Sometimes misalignment of the teeth is what causes diastema, and aligners work to pull the teeth into a straighter position, closing the gap between teeth and accomplishing a complete and beautiful smile without the gaps. Braces and aligners are a widespread treatment for diastema.
But, sometimes, people will still have a gap even after braces. Consult an orthodontist before putting braces on solely to treat diastema.
It’s rare, but in some cases, dental crowns are a way to fill in gaps between teeth, specifically if damage or eroding are causing the gaps.
Dental crowns restore the shape and size of your natural teeth, enabling them to widen the surface of each tooth, leading to a gap-free smile.
Dental crowns are usually not the ideal option for cases of diastema where the teeth are healthy, the gaps are a natural occurrence, and cracks occur between almost every tooth in the mouth.
Dental bonding is a non-invasive process that involves adding tooth-colored bonding material to the existing teeth to fill in gaps. It usually takes around 30 minutes per tooth, so the overall time depends on how many gaps are present in the teeth. Dental bonding is often less expensive than other diastema treatment options and is a seamless process. However, it most likely will not last as long as dental veneers.
Dental veneers are an excellent permanent option for treating diastema and a solution for enhancing your overall smile. Veneers are thin shells customized to match your tooth color. They are applied to the surface of the teeth to solve problems such as gaps or misshapen teeth. Although a bit on the pricey side, veneers are very popular and can last decades before needing to be replaced. If done by an experienced dentist, veneers offer a naturally beautiful and perfect smile.
Will My Diastema Close Up Over Time?
A gap caused by a mismatch between your permanent teeth and your jaw size will most likely remain for the rest of your life if you don’t seek treatment. And a diastema caused by tongue thrust or periodontal disease can actually get larger over time. In some cases, diastema will self-correct in children. Your Utah family dentist can help you understand more.
How to Prevent Diastema
Not all diastema is created equal. Sometimes a gap is unavoidable before treatment. Other times, it is a result of periodontal disease that weakens and loosens your gum tissue, allowing your teeth to spread apart. Regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the family dentist can prevent this type of diastema. Those with a tongue thrust that pushes the teeth forward and creates a gap can re-learn how to properly swallow by pushing their tongue up against their palate. Breaking the tongue thrusting habit can prevent widening spaces between teeth. If you have a child who sucks their thumb, you can support them in breaking this habit to prevent diastema.
Like a good defensive team, we can help you close your gap. It’s usually an uncomplicated and straightforward treatment. There are various solutions for diastema, and we can advise you about which one would be best for you. Talk with our team of Davis County dentists about the best treatment option for your specific case. If you’re searching for a new dentist in the area, give us a call. Treating diastema can make a world of difference in appearance and self-confidence.