For some individuals, the gap is considered a distinguishing asset that sets them apart. Many celebrities wear their gap with pride. Some see it as a flaw that needs to be corrected. When you have an anterior diastema (gap) and do not like the way it looks, you can choose to close it. Sometimes it is best to correct it for your oral health. If the gap is causing you pain or difficult to keep clean, correcting it may be your best option.
Types of Diastemas
Gaps between teeth can occur anywhere in the mouth and are not limited to the front teeth. Genetics can play a role in creating gaps. Some individuals have large jawbones compared to their teeth. In this situation, there may be small gaps between all the teeth. This can be an issue for keeping the teeth clean and preventing plaque buildup between them.
The midline diastema is the most common type. It is the gap between the upper front teeth and most often seen in six-year-old children. Primary teeth often have midline gaps. About half the children who have one will lose it when the permanent canines erupt. For those who retain it, the gap usually closes during the teenage years. Only about 7% of older teens maintain midline diastema.
Various factors, including genetics, can play a role in creating gaps between teeth. Sometimes the gap is created by bad habits; sometimes, it can be related to skeletal development.
Heredity is a factor when the jawbone is large, and the teeth are small. This situation can result in a midline gap, gaps between several anterior teeth or gaps between all the teeth depending on the jawbone’s size. When genetics are at play, other family members may have the same issue.
Another common cause of a diastema is gum disease or overgrowth of gum tissue. Gingival hyperplasia, an enlargement of the gums, can develop with advanced gum disease. In its most severe form, this can lead to gaps forming between teeth. Vitamin deficiencies and some medical conditions can also cause gingival overgrowth.
Midline gaps are often caused by an oversized frenum. A frenum is the tissue that connects the inside of the upper lip to the gum. When it is larger than average, it may cause a midline gap. The frenum can be clipped to allow the teeth to move into position.
Habit can also cause diastemas. Children’s bones are somewhat malleable, and they grow quickly. Using a bottle or pacifier too long can result in a midline gap. The gap can also result from finger or thumb sucking. The “open bite” caused by the habit prevents the front teeth from aligning correctly and may form a gap.
If you have a gap and would rather see it closed, make an appointment with us. Call Pine Ridge Dental, and we can close your gap for you.