Diastema, otherwise known as tooth gap, pertains to the spacing between two or more teeth. It is most often seen on the front teeth, although the back teeth may also be involved.

In adults, however, the diastema is most likely permanent and requires orthodontic treatment for correction.

Mind the gap: treatment and prevention of diastema

Causes of Diastema

The most common cause of diastema is the discrepancy between the size of the teeth and that of the jaw. Spacing occurs when the teeth are normal in size but the jaw is too big. If the jaw is normal in size but the teeth are too small for it.

A special condition called a peg lateral refers to the developmental defect of the lateral incisor, resulting in the gap between. The lateral incisor and the teeth adjacent to it (central incisor and canine).

Other causes of diastema include missing. As well as unerupted teeth, oral habits (such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking), periodontitis, mesiodens, and oversized labial frenum.

Meanwhile, oral habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking push the upper front teeth forward, creating space as they flare out.

Periodontitis, on the other hand, refers to the advanced form of gum disease characterized by a bone loss in addition to the inflammation of the gums.

The aggressive form of this disease results in the fast destruction of the supporting bone. And using the affected teeth to become mobile.

Midline Diastema Causes

Mobility results to gap formation, which tend to worsen over time if periodontitis is left untreated. The labial frenum, a small band of soft tissue located found just above. The two upper central incisors may also cause diastema. If it is large enough.

If this tissue extends far below its normal position and passes between the two central teeth. It prevents these teeth from naturally closing the space between them.

Lastly, mesiodens causes diastema in the same way as an oversized labial frenum – it grows at the back of the central incisors. And thereby preventing them to come together and close the gap.

Treatment of Diastema

Although diastema doesn’t have any adverse effects on one’s health, most patients prefer to have it corrected for aesthetic purposes.

The most recommended method for closing a diastema is orthodontic treatment. It involves the installation of braces on the upper and lower teeth to pull the teeth together and close the space.

But if the cause of the problem is an oversized labial frenum or mesiodens. Then surgery must be performed first prior to putting braces; otherwise. The problem may only recur once the appliance is removed. The surgical procedure for removing frenum is called a frenectomy.

For small gaps, the patient may opt for placement of composite restorations or crowns instead of orthodontic treatment.

If space is due to a missing tooth, then tooth replacement options like fixed bridges, removable dentures, and dental implants should be considered.

This will be followed by splinting of the involved teeth, installation of braces, or restoration with a fixed bridge or denture.

Prevention of Diastema

If diastema is caused by developmental defects, then there’s no way to avoid it. Orthodontic treatment is also preferred as early as possible. For diastema due to periodontal disease, the best method to prevent. Further widening of the gap is to practice proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing can do so much to halt the progression of periodontal disease.

For cases caused by oral habits, the most logical thing to do is to break such a habit. You can go to your Chula Vista dentist for counseling and placement of appliances that can help control the habit.