The extra space between two or more teeth is called a diastema. The most common diastema seen is between the upper two front teeth and since it forms the midline of the upper jaw, it is referred to as the ‘midline diastema’.
What causes a Diastema?
- The most common cause of a midline diastema is a thick labial frenum. A labial frenum is a tissue that hold your upper and lower lip in place by connecting it with your gums. If this layer is thick and reaches between your upper two front teeth, the forces acting on it do not let the teeth come in close proximity. This leads to a midline diastema.
- Other reasons of a diastema are peg laterals (which are narrow rather conical upper front teeth), unerupted or partially erupted teeth, mesiodens (another abnormality in the shape of the tooth), drifting of teeth due to non- replacement of missing teeth and habits.
How can you treat a diastema?
Orthodontics along with some periodontal and prosthodontic treatments can help correct a diastema.
In case of a midline diastema, first the thick labial frenum is cut and then orthodontically the diastema is closed.
In case of a peg lateral or mesiodens, the shape of the tooth is corrected and the contact established with the adjacent teeth to help cover the diastema.
In cases where the teeth are missing and that has led to drifting of the teeth to create these minor spaces, first the teeth are moved orthodontically to their original spaces and the space available now is used to replace the tooth using a bridge or an implant.
In cases of very small minor gaps where orthodontic alignments are not needed, the space can be closed with veneers or composite build-up.
If you notice a gap, get it evaluated by your dentist to rule out any pathologies or future dental problems.