Diastema is a dental condition characterized by too much space between the teeth.
This condition can be an aesthetic concern for many people and can lead to chewing and speech problems.
In this article, we will discuss the causes and methods of preventing diastema.
Causes of diastema
There are several possible causes for diastema, and some are more common than others. Some of the most common causes of diastema include:
Uneven tooth size
If the teeth are different sizes, this can lead to gaps between the teeth.
If teeth are in incorrect positions, this can lead to gaps between teeth. For example, if a tooth is crooked or twisted, this can lead to gaps between teeth.
Big mouth and small jaw
If the mouth is larger than the jaw, this can lead to gaps between teeth.
If the teeth wear or erode, this can lead to gaps between teeth.
Tooth loss can lead to gaps between teeth, as neighboring teeth can start to move into the space left.
There are several ways to prevent diastema, depending on its specific cause. Some of the most effective ways to prevent diastema include:
Proper oral hygiene
Cleaning your teeth and gums regularly can help prevent tooth wear and other dental conditions that can lead to diastema.
Regular visits to the dentist
Regular visits to the dentist can help identify dental problems and treat them in their early stages, before they worsen and lead to diastema.
Orthodontic treatment can help correct incorrect tooth position and prevent diastema from developing.
Wearing dental guards can help prevent tooth wear and other dental conditions that can lead to diastema.
Avoiding harmful habits
Avoiding harmful habits such as smoking or chewing hard objects can help prevent tooth wear and other dental conditions that can lead to diastema.
Diastema is the space between the upper front incisors. Any spaces found between teeth other than those mentioned above are called diastema.
Highly inserted labial frenum – the labial frenum is located at the gum level between the two upper incisors. It ensures the insertion of the upper lip at gum level.
The positioning of the frenum can be low, i.e. its length is reduced and in the smile the lip is raised revealing the gum. Another type of frenum is the normal insertion, which is the most physiognomic position.
The third situation is where the labial frenum has a high insertion and interferes with the positioning of the teeth. The frenum, having a hard, fibrous consistency, creates a space between the two upper incisors, which will show diastema.
Correction of this malposition can be done by frenectomy and Z-plasty, i.e. reduction of the size and reshaping of the acetabulum, followed by orthodontic treatment to reposition the teeth correctly.
Mismatch between the size of the upper jaw and the teeth – the size of the teeth does not always match the space available in the arch. There is a situation where the teeth are overlapping, narrowed because the jaw is too narrow in relation to the size of the teeth, or a diastematic situation where the teeth are small in relation to the available space.
Absence of tooth buds – sometimes some tooth buds, most commonly of the upper lateral incisors, may be missing. Thus, the arch will be interrupted and to compensate for the space left free, the upper central incisors may migrate to the canines. The space will not be completely closed because the bone structure in which the incisors are anchored does not allow such a transition and we will eventually have both diastemas and tremors, the latter occurring between the incisors and the canines.
The eruptive period of the teeth, until all the dental units are on the arch, can generate gaps, even diastema, but these are transitory.
They are called false diastema and will disappear once the eruption period is over. If they persist after this period, then the diastema is true and may have one of the causes described above.
Vicious habits – finger sucking, a vicious and common habit in children, can cause the front teeth to migrate forward, describing a protrusion. By advancing the front teeth, the spaces between the front teeth widen, resulting in a diastema that can be corrected with the repositioning of the teeth.
Another vicious habit is swallowing incorrectly, with the tongue pressing on the upper incisors. Over time, these will move anteriorly, also in protrusion, as with thumb-sucking in children.
Periodontal disease – by damaging the bone support associated with periodontal disease, the hard structure holding the tooth in the socket decreases and the consistency also decreases. Teeth will become more mobile and may shift anteriorly, with the appearance of diastema.
Treatment of diastema
The treatment of diastema may vary depending on the specific cause and severity of the condition. Some of the most common treatment options include:
Orthodontic treatment can be used to correct incorrect tooth position and close gaps between teeth.
Dental restoration can be used to replace missing teeth or to fill gaps between teeth. This can be achieved using procedures such as dental implants or dental bridges.
Tooth milling can be used to correct uneven tooth size and to remove excess tooth material that can lead to diastema.
Dentures can be used to replace missing teeth and fill gaps between teeth.
Diastema can be an aesthetic or functional problem and can be caused by several factors including uneven tooth size, dental malposition and tooth wear. To prevent diastema, it is important to adopt proper oral hygiene, avoid harmful habits and make regular visits to the dentist.
Treatment of diastema can vary depending on the specific cause and may include options such as orthodontic treatment, dental restoration, tooth grinding and dentures.
It is not always possible to prevent diastema from developing. If it is genetic in origin, it cannot be prevented. By maintaining gum health, we can delay or even stop the onset of diastema caused by periodontal disease.
In children, by correcting vices, we reduce the incidence of diastema.