Diastema is a gap between two or more of the upper front teeth. It often occurs because the teeth are slightly larger than their socket space, but it can also be caused by genetics, prolonged thumb-sucking during childhood, or the loss of adult teeth. Diastema is often considered a minor aesthetic issue, although it has been found to have psychological effects on self-esteem in some cases.
In this article, you will learn how to treat diastema, the gap between your front teeth. Discover dental procedures, home remedies, and lifestyle changes to close the gap and achieve a beautiful smile.
Who is at Risk of Having a Diastema?
While diastema is more common in children and can often close as the child’s adult teeth come in, this isn’t always the case.
Diastemas are also more common in certain ethnicities; for example, people of Hispanic, African-American, and Amerindian descent have higher rates of diastemas than those from other ethnic groups.
Does Diastema Increase with Age?
If someone has a good level of dental hygiene diastema should not worsen with age. However, gaps in the teeth can increase in size with age but this is normally down to individual habits such as “tongue thrust” which is when a person pushes the tongue against the teeth when swallowing rather than the roof of the mouth.
Is Diastema a Serious Disease and How Does it Affect the Oral Cavity?
Diastema is not a serious medical condition, but it can affect one’s confidence and emotional well-being.
Although diastema does not directly affect oral health in the short term, if left untreated, it can cause long-term complications such as food and plaque getting trapped in these gaps, leading to cavities and other dental issues.
Related post: 6MM Gap in Teeth.
Causes of Diastema
Oversized Labial Frenum
The labial frenum is a soft tissue structure that connects the inner layer of gum tissue from the upper lip to the gums surrounding the upper teeth, and when it is too thick or short, it tends to pull away the central incisor teeth resulting in noticeable gaps between them.
This abnormality can cause these teeth to shift, form overlapping or improper spacing or even become loose due to lack of support provided by their neighboring teeth.
Missing teeth is one of the most common causes of diastema. This space can be both aesthetically displeasing and difficult to clean for proper oral hygiene.
When no teeth are present in a gap, the teeth on either side of it may become malpositioned and move closer together as they try to fill in the space.
Loss of Primary Teeth in Children
When baby teeth are lost too early, they may not be replaced by the permanent adult tooth. This leads to a space where the tooth did not grow in or it grew crookedly. As a result of this space, other teeth surrounding it may shift outwards into the space, forming a large gap between them.
The absence of regular preventative maintenance for gum disease in children can lead to Diastema.
Early preventive care with regular professional cleanings and at-home brushing habits are essential in preventing or limiting the severity of Diastema in children. Additionally, parents should also ensure that their child visits their dentist routinely to catch any oral changes quickly, allowing for optimal long-term health outcomes.
An article from the National Library of Medicine from the Department of Public Health Dentistry in India stated that poor oral health has a huge impact on children who can suffer from dental pain, abscesses, gum disease, and damaged teeth which can cause distress.
When an individual has a poor swallow, their tongue does not rest adequately at the roof of their mouth. This pushing forward movement of the tongue can cause a potentially damaging force that pushes forward on the front teeth and separate them from each other.
Teeth are too Small for the Jawbone
Having teeth that are too small for one’s jaw can cause gaps in between the teeth, which can be an aesthetically displeasing sight.
Unfortunately, this problem can also cause more complex issues such as difficulty speaking, chewing, and even reduced confidence due to the feeling of having a crooked smile and gaps in between the teeth.
Habits Such as Thumb Sucking
When a child or adult repeatedly puts pressure on the roof of their mouth due to thumb sucking, they can shift and push forward the front teeth away from each other.
Thumbs are relatively bigger than other fingers and a child’s jaw is much softer than adults so the impact is greater at a younger age leading to gaps occurring.
How to Treat Diastema?
Although genetics cannot be changed, daily brushing and flossing are ways in which you can prevent gaps between your teeth. You should also eat a healthy and nutritious diet that will help to make your gums stay healthy.
During a frenectomy, excess tissue from the lip or cheek muscle is removed from around the teeth. This minor procedure helps to pull the upper and lower sets of teeth closer together, thus reducing or eliminating the gap between them.
The downtime for this procedure is minimal and generally involves a day or so of eating soft foods. Results tend to appear within three weeks after healing.
This involves an orthodontist taking precise measurements of the patient’s mouth, teeth, and jaw to determine the best course of action.
Once a plan is formulated, braces are then fitted over the teeth to help gradually shift them into the desired position, which results in fewer gaps between them.
Aligners work by gently guiding your teeth into the right place, improving your dental health, function, and appearance all at once.
This treatment is far less intrusive than traditional braces as there is no need for wires or brackets, they are invisible to the naked eye, require fewer visits to the dentist, and can easily be removed when cleaning or eating.
Invisible aligners are the most popular choice with patients as they are an affordable and efficient solution to teeth straightening whilst allowing for the process to be completed discreetly.
See our article: Can you Have Aligners on the Top or Bottom Teeth Only?
Here are some reviews of the best invisible aligners available:
Byte Review – The top pick of this aligner is the most affordable option and has a lifetime guarantee. This product also includes a free HyperBite and teeth whitening kit with every purchase.
NewSmile Review – A low-cost option but with premium aesthetics this aligner includes a free retainer and teeth whitening kit.
SmileDirectClub Review – The most popular product that also has the most precise 3D scanning process and includes a free one-time replacement guarantee.
Candid Review – The most similar to Invisalign aligners with hybrid in-office care this product has great reviews from its customers.
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Usually placed over the front four teeth, veneers are made of a very thin porcelain shell and adhered to the natural tooth using dental bonding agents.
It eradicates any signs of the gap while providing a more aesthetically pleasing result; the treatment also offers other benefits such as improved color, shape, and overall alignment of the teeth.
Dental bonding involves the application of composite resin directly to the teeth. The resin material is carefully selected to match the color of the patient’s teeth, creating an even and aesthetically pleasing smile.
Furthermore, dental bonding does not require any drilling or reshaping of teeth, making for a quick and painless procedure with good results.
Implants are inserted into the jawbone where the artificial tooth root is secured to it and the porcelain tooth is placed on top for a natural-looking finish.
The implant process involves an oral surgeon and typically takes up to eight months to complete. During this time, multiple visits for impressions and test fittings may be required.
This procedure starts with reshaping some of the enamel from the surrounding teeth to ensure that the bridge lies flat against them.
Then, impressions are taken to create a model for manufacturing the bridge, which is then fixed into place using bonding cement.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Treat Diastema at Home?
Treating diastema effectively at home can be achieved by adopting healthy habits to improve the appearance of your teeth.
This includes flossing and brushing twice daily and eating a nutritious diet that includes essential vitamins, minerals, and calcium-rich foods including dairy products, nuts, and greens.
How Can I Close Diastema?
There are several different options when it comes to treatment to close gaps between teeth. These include braces, invisible aligners, bridges, veneers, dental bonding, implants, frenectomy, and of course prevention which includes looking after your teeth better.
How Do I Get Rid of Diastema Without Braces?
A popular way to deal with gaps in teeth that don’t involve wearing braces is dental bonding.
This involves the application of tooth-colored resin material to close gaps. This procedure often only requires one visit and can last for several years with proper maintenance.