A tooth gap or diastema is one of the most common aesthetic dental issues caused by childhood habits like thumb-sucking or diseases involving the gums and teeth. Gaps can happen anywhere in the mouth, but it becomes a big issue when it is visible when smiling or opening the mouth.
While it is possible to fix them through surgery and cosmetic procedures, the question is: is it worth doing?
What Causes the Gap in Your Teeth?
No matter how healthy your teeth are, there are internal and external factors that contribute to the occurrence of teeth gaps. Here are some causes listed by British dental Association (BDA) and Smylife:
- Poor habits and reflexes – Thumb sucking can pull both the upper and lower front teeth forward over time. Poor swallowing reflexes, on the other hand, pressure the front teeth when the tongue presses against it instead of the palate (roof of the mouth).
- Mismatched, missing or undersized teeth – When the size of the teeth is not proportional to the jaw, or when a missing tooth is untreated, spaces may begin to develop.
- Inappropriate-sized labial frenum – If the tissue that extends from the inside of your upper lip and gum grows incorrectly, it may prevent the upper teeth from closing.
Should You or Should You Not Fix the Gap?
Fixing a tooth gap depends on your preference. Some people see it as a unique trait, like how some celebrities refuse to fix their gaps because they see it as part of their personality. Others do not feel confident that they want closure as soon as possible.
What Treatments are Available?
Treatments differ depending on the gap. If you have gaps other than the upper front teeth, you might need to wear braces. Dental surgery like frenectomy may be necessary if your labial frenum is the problem. For gaps caused by gum disease, you may need periodontal treatment and orthodontics.
The gap between the teeth may or may not need closure, so it is up to you to decide. It is best, however, to seek the help of professionals for more information about the available treatments.