What is a Diastema?

What do David Letterman, Madonna, Anna Paquin, Woody Harrelson, Seal, Lauren Hutton and Lara Stone have in common? They all have The Gap, and we don’t mean the clothing store.

A diastema is a gap or space between two teeth. It most often occurs between the “two front teeth” on top, but they also appear between any two teeth. When there is a mismatch between the size of a person’s jaw bone and the size of their teeth, either extra space between teeth can result or the opposite, overcrowding. If one tooth is undersized, a space will develop as all the adult teeth come in. Another reason for diastema is an oversized labial frenum. That is that little piece of tissue that starts on the inside of your upper lip and ends up on your gum just above your two front teeth. If the labial frenum continues to grow, it blocks the closure of the space between the teeth, resulting in a gap.

Habits can also contribute to gaps in the teeth, namely thumb or finger sucking and incorrect swallowing known as tongue thrust. The correct place for your tongue to be when you swallow is against the roof of your mouth. In people with tongue thrust, the tongue is pressed against their front teeth with each swallow, creating pressure that can move their teeth over time.

What should you do if you have a gap between your teeth? The first step is to discuss the cause with your dentist at the Marconi Dental Group. If it is caused by tongue thrust, therapies can correct this habit. It is important to stop tongue thrust now rather than later, as the problem will only get worse over time. If you just have a natural gap between your teeth, you can ask our dentists about the benefits of Invisalign to straighten your teeth and close the gap. Another option uses veneers to create slightly larger teeth, which will also fix the gap.

A final choice is to become so famous that the gap between your teeth becomes your trademark. Whatever you decide to do about that space in your smile, remember that the most important aspect of a great smile is good dental health. If your teeth are healthy, clean and strong, your smile will exude confidence and poise – on and off the red carpet.

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