The 101 On Diastema: Causes And Treatment Options For Your Gap-Toothed Smile

The underlying health of your mouth, teeth, and gums is important, but placing emphasis on the look of your smile is also necessary. From whitening treatments and veneers to implants and braces, the numerous ways to improve your smile's appeal can be overwhelming. While numerous celebrities such as Michael Strahan and Uzo Aduba have made the gap-toothed smile fashionable, you may not be familiar with this dental condition. Known as diastema, the gap between two teeth affects the overall appearance of your smile. Fortunately, treatment is available if you want to correct this condition. Using this guide on diastema, you will understand the causes and learn the best treatment to correct your gap-toothed smile.

Causes of Diastema

Diastema can occur between any two teeth. However, the space mostly occurs between the person's two front teeth. This space develops in different ways for each person, but your gap most likely displayed itself first when you were a child.

Young children who suck on their thumbs, a bottle, or a pacifier for longer than necessary may develop a gap between their two permanent front teeth.  Also, if you suffer from a misaligned bite, your teeth may be too small for your jaw. This will create extra space between two teeth, resulting in a gap-toothed smile.

Many patients with diastema have an oversized labial frenum, which is the tissue that connects the upper lip to the gums above the two front teeth. An oversized labial frenum will cause tissue to grown between the front teeth, creating the gap.

Treating the Diastema

Many celebrities have embraced the gap between their teeth, but you may prefer to correct the issue. Utilizing dental and orthodontic treatments to correct the gap in your smile can improve your appearance and increase your self-esteem.

Here are a few tips to consider when choosing the best option for treating the underlying cause of your diastema:

  • Bite Misalignment – If a misaligned bite is causing your diastema, an orthodontist will need to realign jaw to close the gap. Orthodontic treatments for your diastema may involve the use of rubber bands, which will close smaller gaps over a period of time. For larger, more involved gaps, braces will be necessary. Traditional metal braces or orthodontic aligners gradually close the gap by moving the teeth closer together.
  • Excess Gum Tissue – If the gap developed due to an oversized labial frenum, consider undergoing a frenectomy. This surgery is completed as an outpatient procedure, since a light sedative is necessary to numb the gum tissue. During the procedure, the oral surgeon will remove excess tissue form the labial frenum, which will reduce the space between the teeth.  

Treating the underlying cause of your diastema is smart before undergoing any cosmetic improvements for your gap-toothed smile. Once the actual cause is repaired, your dentist may suggest the following:

  • Dental Crowns – By placing a dental crown on each of the two front teeth to make the space appear smaller, your gap will not be as noticeable. Using dental crowns to make the gap less visible offers its own complications. While the gap may appear smaller, the crowned teeth will appear much larger.
  • Porcelain Veneers – Apply thin, porcelain covers directly over the two teeth will reduce the space in between them, improving the look of your smile. Porcelain veneers offer a natural, permanent option that will improve your diastema and other dental imperfections.

According to many popular celebrities today, a gap-toothed smile is not the end of the world. While common, the gap is not always appealing. Using this guide, you will understand and be able to treat your diastema if preferred. 

Click here to continue reading more about orthodontic treatment for this and other dental conditions.