Should I get orthodontic treatment with Dr. Scramstad to close the gaps in my teeth? We hear that question quite a lot from our patients.
A space between the two front teeth is often considered lucky, for others, it’s unlucky. Some people say it’s the sign of being a good singer, or intelligent and creative, but for the more scientifically minded, a gap in the teeth is simply known as a diastema (plural diastemata).
Diastemata can affect more than just the front teeth; they can occur between any two teeth, and it’s not always caused by genetics or thumb sucking. In fact, there are several causes of spaces between teeth.
Knowing the cause of the space in your teeth is vitally important because the cause and the severity will determine which treatment you should choose.
One of the more common causes is an oversized labial frenum. The labial frenum is the tissue that runs from the centre of your upper lip to the gums. In some cases, it grows too large and extends between the two front teeth, which stops them from closing together naturally.
Surprisingly, spaces between your teeth can develop depending on how you swallow. When you swallow, the tongue naturally pushes up against the roof of the mouth, but in some people the reflex causes the tongue to push against the front teeth, which can cause the front teeth to push apart.
Thumbsucking is a bad habit that may seem harmless in children, but it can result in pushing the front teeth forward. This makes the teeth stick out and can also cause a space between the two front teeth.
A less common problem is when the jawbone and the teeth are mismatched in size. If either of these is too big or too small, there will be extra space or overcrowding of the teeth.
Gingivitis is a common gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. The gums and bone may be compromised and recede, which can lead to teeth moving or flaring resulting in new spaces appearing between teeth.
And of course, if there are missing teeth, it can cause the adjacent teeth to shift slightly, which can also cause a gap.
If you have a gap between your teeth that you would like to fix, the good news is that there are many gap teeth treatment options available, including:
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Oral surgery
Cosmetic dentistry includes dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and dental bonding. The choice of treatment will depend on the size of the gap to be mended. For small gaps, dental bonding may be the best option, but for larger, or multiple spaced teeth, orthodontic treatment is often the best solution. In addition, if the spacing is caused by thumbsucking or tongue thrusting, a realignment of the teeth may be necessary.
For most dental spacing, it may be necessary to wear braces or have Invisalign treatment. We have both options at our office and can create a customized treatment plan to take care of it.
If you are concerned about spaces in your teeth, or your children’s teeth, don’t wait to seek advice. Call us at Dr. Scramstad’s office to schedule an appointment and we can help you determine the best course of treatment.