In the second article on Smile Design, we will be discussing about one of the Chief Complaints’ of patients, Gaps between Teeth.
What are Gaps Between Teeth?
A space or gap between two teeth is known as a Diastema. It appears most often between the two upper front teeth. However, gaps can occur between any two teeth.
Causes of Gaps between Teeth:
> A mismatch between the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth can cause either extra space between teeth or crowding of teeth. If the teeth are too small for the jaw bone, spaces between the teeth will occur. If the teeth are too big for the jaw, teeth will be crowded.
> Incorrect Swallowing reflex and habits like thumb sucking can cause gaps between teeth in children.
> Sometimes some teeth are missing or undersized. This happens most often with the upper lateral incisors (the teeth next to the two upper front teeth). That can cause the upper central incisors to develop a space.
> Periodontal (gum) disease results in the loss of the bone that supports the teeth. In people who have lost a lot of bone, the teeth can become loose. This movement can result in gaps between the front teeth.
> A diastema also can be caused by an oversized labial frenum. The labial frenum is the piece of tissue that normally extends from the inside of your upper lip to the gum just above your two upper front teeth. In some situations, the labial frenum continues to grow and passes between the two front teeth. If this happens, it blocks the natural closing of the space between these teeth.
Treatment of Gaps Between Teeth:
Gaps between Teeth can be treated by the following techniques:
1. Orthodontic Treatment.
2. Laminates or Veneers.
3. Crowns or Bridges.
> The most natural and conservative line of treatment is Orthodontics(Braces). It is the suggested line of treatment in case of a mismatch between the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth causing either extra space between teeth or crowding of teeth.
> If any of the front teeth are undersized, the gaps can be closed using crowns, veneers or bonding(composite).
> If the space is because of missing teeth, more extensive dental repair like a fixed crown/bridge/dental implant might be needed for closure.
> If the gap is caused by periodontal disease, then periodontal treatment by a dentist or gum specialist (periodontist) is necessary. When gum health is restored, in many cases braces can be used to move the teeth into place. A splint can be used to attach teeth to other teeth and prevent them from moving again. In some cases, a bridge will be required to close the spaces.
> If a large labial frenum is causing the gap, the frenum can be reduced through surgery called a frenectomy. If a frenectomy is done in a younger child, the space may close on its own. If it is done in an older child or an adult, the space may need to be closed with braces.
To read about the above mentioned treatment modalities in detail, refer to our SERVICES section.