Diastema is an unnaturally large gap between two adjacent teeth. Some people consider diastema an aesthetic problem, particularly if the gap is too large. Large gaps can also lead to speech disorders. Knowing why diastema occurs can help you prevent the condition before it develops. It can also help you get the right treatment and prevent re-occurrence. Here are some of the common causes of the condition.
Teeth and Jaw Discrepancies
A discrepancy between the relative sizes of your jawbone and teeth may lead to diastema. For example, if your teeth are small and your jawbone is large, the teeth may fail to fill your jawbone, and this causes large spaces between your teeth.
Large Labial Frenum
The labial frenum is the oral tissue that connects the upper lip to the gum. In some cases, the labial frenum is abnormally large and projects between the two front teeth, causing the teeth to move apart. This is usually a congenital abnormally that should be detected and corrected in young kids, but it sometimes escapes attention.
Some people are born with diastema even if their labial frenum is of the usual size. In such cases, the diastema is just one of the hereditary factors that children inherit from their parents.
You may also develop diastema if you have a missing tooth. This may happen when you lose a tooth due to an accident or dental condition but fail to replace the tooth. It may also happen if a permanent tooth gets impacted and has to be extracted.
Bad Oral Habits
Oral habits that push your teeth outwards and apart can also cause diastema after some time. An example is tongue thrusting, where you push your lip against the front teeth, particularly when swallowing food (or just unconsciously at other times). Another example is thumb sucking, which also puts enormous pressure on the teeth and can push the teeth apart.
Dental diseases such as periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, can affect the jawbone and trigger teeth mobility. If that happens, the teeth may move apart, overcrowding teeth on one side and creating gaps on the other side.
There are several ways of dealing with diastema. For example, you may require orthodontic treatment, dental bonding, dental veneers, or surgical intervention (in serious cases). If you want to get rid of your diastema, consult a dentist like Elizabeth Loseke DDS for a diagnosis so that they can suggest the right treatment for your case.