Probably not a word you’ve ever heard before? But it’s just the technical term for a pretty simple dental phenomenon – a gap between two teeth. Specifically, one that is wider than 0.5mm.
Some people embrace their diastema; it becomes part of their unique look. Think Madonna, Lauren Hutton, Georgia Jagger, Elijah Wood. But for others, it can be a part of their appearance they really dislike – a source of embarrassment even, that can have a huge effect on their confidence levels.
And if that sounds familiar, we can help.
Here we take a closer look at diastema teeth and the best ways to close that troublesome gap.
What causes diastema?
A diastema will most commonly appear between the two front teeth. However, they can form anywhere in the mouth and are often caused by a range of contributing factors, including:
- the size of your teeth and jawbone
If a person’s teeth are too small, relative to the size of their jawbone, gaps may develop. Tooth and jawbone size can be genetic, which is often why gapped front teeth run in the family.
- tooth discrepancies
Similarly, a diastema can also develop between the two front teeth if some of the other teeth in that row are missing or smaller than others – particularly the upper lateral incisors.
- oversized labial frenum
The labial frenum is the tissue that connects the inside of your lip to the gum tissue above the upper front teeth. If this is especially large, this can cause a midline diastema to form.
- gum disease
Sometimes, a diastema can appear suddenly – and this rapid tooth movement can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease is an infection, in which inflammation of the gums damages the supporting tissue beneath the teeth. And this damage can often lead to gaps.
- Poor habits and irregular swallowing reflexes
Long-term pacifier and bottle use in children, thumb sucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, poor chewing habits and incorrect swallowing can all contribute to a diastema. Over time, the repetitive pressure against the front teeth can push the teeth forward and create a sizeable gap.
- Loss of primary teeth
Diastemata are very common as children lose their baby teeth. In fact, approximately 98% of 6 years olds will have a midline diastema and dentists consider it a normal dental phenomenon in childhood. These are usually temporary and will typically close as the permanent teeth appear.
Should I be worried about my diastema?
This depends on why it has appeared.
If your gapped front teeth have an underlying cause – such as gum disease – it’s important to seek dental treatment. Gum disease is a common condition, but it can lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms and dental complications. Therefore, you should address the issue as soon as possible.
If your diastema is nothing more than a cosmetic issue, and you have no other symptoms, dental treatment isn’t strictly necessary. The diastema is not a health concern and it won’t do you any harm to leave it as it is. But if you dislike its appearance, it is possible to seek the help of a dentist.
Closing your diastema
Here at Kiln Lane Dental, we currently offer several treatments that can help to close a diastema.
By applying gentle pressure, a custom-built series of clear aligners can be used to push the two front teeth little by little, until the gap has been successfully closed.
This is a pain-free and minimally-invasive approach, with impressive results. Composite resin (that has been perfectly matched to your natural tooth colour) can be used to, essentially, fill in the diastema – getting rid of the gap without the need for drills.
Porcelain veneers are also a common cosmetic treatment for gapped front teeth. Fitted to the surface of the enamel, they hide the diastema and create a full, even smile.
The right treatment for you will depend on the severity and cause of your diastema. And for tailored advice, we recommend getting in touch with our team of specialists. Not only can we offer tips on general oral hygiene – and the best ways to prevent gapped front teeth – we can talk you through the treatment options available at our clinic and advise on the best one for your requirements.
As stated above, treatment for diastema isn’t essential. But it’s a dental complaint that many people do wish to address for a variety of different reasons. And if you’d like to close any gaps in your teeth, we’re always happy to help.
So, why not get in touch? To arrange a free consultation, and find out more about diastema closure, either give us a call on 01744 25774 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will get back to you.