While the popularity of a gap tooth (specifically between the front two teeth) seemed to rise in the 90s with celebrities and models making it trendy – the truth is, this gap can cause serious dental problems.
A diastema or a gap between two teeth is extremely common and can be treated with orthodontics. The main concerns with a gap tooth include over-crowding, bite problems and a negative effect on speaking and chewing. The unique fashion trend of the gap tooth, while setting celebrities apart, can be problematic to their dental health which is why we encourage patients to seek orthodontic care for their diastema (gap between their teeth).
Why do I have a gap in my teeth?
The cause of diastema varies among individuals and can affect the prescribed treatment depending on the cause. A noticeable gap between teeth is sometimes caused from having too much space in the jaw in comparison to the size of your teeth. A gap between the two front teeth is also commonly caused from an oversized labial frenum which is the piece of tissue that normally extends from the inside of your upper lip to the gum just above your two upper front teeth. If the labial frenum passes between the two front teeth it can block the natural closing of the space between the teeth. Habits like thumb sucking and applying pressure with your tongue to the back of your teeth have also been known to create a gap between your teeth. During your consultation with our team of professionals here at Victoria Park Dental Specialists, we will assess your mouth to determine the cause and the best treatment for your dental needs.
The importance of seeking treatment
While celebrities like Madonna, Brigitte Bardot and Anna Paquin have made the gap tooth a fashion statement, a diastema, in reality, can cause problems for your overall dental health. Not only does a gap between your teeth make your hygiene routine more difficult but it can cause problems to the entire structure of your mouth. The surrounding teeth still need to fit into your mouth and the gap could be causing serious over-crowding within the neighbouring teeth. This can put unnecessary pressure on your jaw and can cause your bite to suffer.
Correcting the gap
While there are a few solutions for diastema, the safest solution is orthodontics. A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that is designed to remove some of the tissue between the front two teeth. This treatment, however, does not guarantee the teeth will move back into position and can be extremely painful. With orthodontic treatments and appliances, your teeth will be forced to move back into place without having to undergo surgery.
What treatment will I need?
Before we prescribe a treatment to correct your diastema we will do a full mouth assessment and discuss your orthodontic options with you. We usually prescribe traditional metal braces or the Invisalign system to reduce gaps between teeth, however, orthodontic appliances can also be used in some cases. Orthodontic bands have been used with some patients to pull the teeth together, however, we usually recommend treatment for the entire mouth to ensure the bite is treated at the same time. The advantage of opting for orthodontic treatment over cosmetic solutions like veneers and bonding is that using orthodontics allows patients to keep their natural teeth and requires no artificial attachments or caps. Also, the cost of orthodontic treatment is usually far less in relation to cosmetic alternatives. During your consultation, we will discuss in more detail the treatment and their costs to determine the best treatment for your needs.