What is a Diastema?

A diastema is an area of extra space between two or more teeth and is sometimes called a gap.  These spaces can form anywhere in the mouth but are most commonly seen between the two front teeth of the upper jaw.  This condition affects children and adults.

Causes of a Diastema?

There isn’t one single cause of a diastema, but here are several possible contributing factors:

• Diastemas may form when a person has small teeth and the teeth are then spaced too far apart.

• The size of your jaw bone and the size of your teeth can be determined by genetics, so a diastema can run in families.

• If you have an overgrowth of tissue between the two upper front teeth this can cause your front teeth to separate resulting a diastema.

• Children may develop a bad habit of sucking their thumb in which this sucking motion may put pressure on the front teeth causing them to separate forming a diastema.

• Some older children develop incorrect swallowing reflexes and the tongue pushes against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth causing a diastema and the dentist call this a Tongue Thruster.

• Severe gum disease can affect the tissues supporting the teeth which can lead to tooth loss and gaps may develop between teeth.

Some Diastemas are small and barely noticeable, whereas other gaps are larger and a cosmetic issue for some people.  If you don’t like the way the gap looks, there are ways to close it or reduce its size and your dentist can give you treatment options.

I hope this Tooth Talk has helped and call Integrity Dental Care, PLLC (615) 445-8700 or email dr.jmitchell@integritydentalcares.com with any questions you may have.

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