Tooth gaps, also known as diastema, occur in the mouth due to a variety of reasons. In some cases, gaps appear because the teeth that are growing out of the skull are relatively smaller. This size difference causes misalignment between growing teeth and the jaw thus creating the gaps between teeth that characterise this condition. In other instances, tissue in the gums can have an overgrowth, which forces a separation of the teeth, leaving behind a gap. This affliction mostly affects the two front teeth.
Gaps in the teeth are observed in people of all ages. For children that display this affliction, there isn’t any need to worry as the issue will often resolve itself as their milk teeth fall out, and their permanent teeth grow in. When it has to do with adults, however, the resolution of the problem may present some challenges, with the need arising for more in-depth intervention.
Diastemas may occur naturally; there are some habits that may cause the formation of gaps between the teeth. One of these habits is known as tongue thrust. This refers to a person’s tendency to push their tongue against their front teeth as they swallow. This is contrary to the standard swallowing action whereby the tongue presses against the roof of the mouth. The longer a person has tongue thrust, the more likely they will be to force the creation of a gap between their front teeth as they keep pushing them forward over time.
Thumb-sucking has also been linked to the formation of gaps between the two front teeth. The action of sucking the thumb naturally pushes it against the teeth, thus forcing some movement. Finally, gaps can form as a result of diseases in the gums. When there is an infection of the gums, the structure created by these tissues is affected, making it weaker and leading to the loss of teeth.
Fixing Tooth Gaps
Having gaps in the teeth can be a cause of self-consciousness, therefore seeking ways to correct the affliction is warranted. Numerous methods can be applied in fixing tooth gaps, and each can be brought to bear based on the severity of the condition as well as what caused it.
Tooth gaps that are not very large can have equally simple fixes. The use of cosmetic procedures like placing veneers or bonding is common where a compound is created to mimic the appearance of the teeth once applied in the mouth. Once placed over the teeth, the mixture can fill in the gaps, creating a fuller appearance.
An alternative to veneers is the more frequent use of braces. Braces are widely known and easily recognisable, their use being straightforward. They are set over the teeth to close gaps by slowly pushing them together over time. The size of the gaps can dictate the length of time in which the braces are required.
More complex circumstances like compromised gum tissue due to disease or overgrowth will demand the use of more complex solutions. Surgery is often employed in the recession of inflamed gums that create gaps between the teeth. This method is usually paired with the application of braces as the surgical procedure only removes the tissue. Where gum disease is the primary concern, treatment of the gums must be applied first before the gaps are seen to.
Fixing tooth gaps is possible, and relatively simple, in most cases. Book a consultation with your dentist to discuss your concerns and to determine the best solution to apply in the elimination of the gaps in your teeth.