Most Australians have diastema, which is a space or a gap between two teeth. These gaps can cause foods to become easily stuck and cause decay, and they will also negatively impact one's smile. Society has placed a huge importance on one's appearance with 92% of all Australians between the ages of 15 to 80 believing that a perfect smile can improve one's first impression. If you're struggling with diastema, speak with an orthodontist to determine what possible treatments are available.
What Causes Diastema?
Determining the underlying cause behind diastema will provide the insights needed regarding which treatment options may be best. Diastema can be caused by the following:
- Missing or undersized teeth. The upper lateral incisors are most prone to either be missing or undersized.
- An oversized labial frenum. This is the tissue that connects the upper lips to the gums. Overdevelopment of the labial frenum will cause a gap to be present in the two front teeth.
- Periodontal diseases. If the bone is compromised, teeth become loose; thus, forming gaps.
- Poor habits. Thumb sucking will cause teeth to be pulled forward. This will cause gaps to emerge.
- An incorrect swallowing reflex. Individuals who swallow improperly and use a tongue thrust instead will push their front teeth forward, causing excess space to be created.
What Are Possible Orthodontic Treatments?
Depending on what the underlying cause is, orthodontic treatments may or may not be effective. In most cases, orthodontists recommend wearing full sets of braces for both the upper and lower teeth in order to correct diastema. It is important to move the teeth back into place in order to close all of the gaps. Metal braces tend to be highly recommended, as they are able to offer the highest precision and control over the teeth positions.
Keep in mind that orthodontic treatments alone may not be sufficient. Orthodontic treatments may be coupled with a surgical procedure also known as frenectomy, where the the labial frenum is reduced in size. Porcelain veneers may also be applied in conjunction with braces to help close off the gaps.
Speak with an orthodontist and dentist if you are unhappy with the gaps in your smile. There are many different treatment options that are available; however, the orthodontists will first need to perform an x-ray examination to determine what the underlying teeth structure looks like. Determining what the underlying cause is will help orthodontists make better recommendations that are more effective.