Known as diastema, gaps between teeth are especially common in kids. As children grow up, these spaces tend to close naturally when the adult teeth erupt.
If gaps remain after all the adult teeth erupt, they become permanent and will require professional diastema treatment.
Another common type of gap is caused when teeth fall out or require extraction. These types of gaps require prompt treatment to prevent serious side effects, such as shifting teeth.
Let's take a look at some different types of diastema...
Are certain people more likely to develop permanent gaps?
Many of the factors which cause gaps and other types of misalignment are genetic, including the size of your teeth and jaw. Often, gapped teeth run in families.
Certain bad habits which are common in childhood can also lead to the development of gaps, including thumbsucking.
What causes gapped teeth?
A frenulum or frenum refers to the band of tissue under the top lip, underneath the tongue, and inside the cheeks. If the tissue is longer than normal, it can cause gaps between the front teeth, either in the top or bottom jaw.
Smaller than average teeth or extra teeth that block others from coming in can leave gaps in your smile.
In some cases, the jaw is relatively large compared to the size of the teeth.
You may have been born without certain teeth, which leaves a space behind in the jaw.
Are gaps between teeth normal?
However, this percentage decreases dramatically with age. Most childhood gaps will close on their own as permanent teeth erupt.
What should I do if I have gaps in my smile?
For many patients, gaps are simply a cosmetic concern but some diastema can affect your oral health. Leaving large gaps untreated can cause other teeth to shift or increase your risk of gum disease. It is important to ask your doctor about gaps in your smile.
During your appointment, the doctor will examine your smile to assess the health of your teeth and gums. They may also take an x-ray or another type of scan to examine the tooth roots and see if any teeth are trapped below the gums, causing gaps. Be ready to discuss your medical and dental history so your doctor can determine the cause of your diastema.
Can I prevent gaps from forming?
If you are concerned about your child developing gaps, you can help their jaw develop properly by stopping thumb sucking and pacifier use at an appropriate age. Ask your doctor about the best time to wean children off of these habits.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends all children see an orthodontist by the age of seven. This early evaluation can help identify potential problems and implement strategies to ensure teeth erupt properly.
Do I really need to go to a dentist if I have gapped teeth?
What if I don't want braces?
I'm ready to fix the gaps in my smile. What should I do?
If you feel self-conscious about gapped or missing teeth, you have many options to improve the health and appearance of your smile. Find out more about your next steps by contacting a doctor today.
Dr Perry is a great dentist. Very kind and informative. I feel like he is personally invested in my health. He always takes the time to sit and discuss any issues I'm having - I never feel like they're rushing me out.