Dental Problems

Gapped Teeth – Causes of Teeth Gaps

Teeth GapsGapped teeth or diastema is the term given to describe the gap that occurs generally between the two upper front teeth (maxillary central incisors). During the development of an embryo, a small fold of tissue known as frenulum or fraenulum directs the growth of structures inside the mouth. Frenula or fraenula (plural) connects the cheeks, tongue and upper and lower lips to the mouth. When we raise our tongue, a portion of the skin lying under our tongue sticks out, we call it franulum linguae. Maxillary labial fraenum refers to the fraenulum that connects our top lips to the upper portion of the gum.

The common cause of gapped upper front teeth is abnormally low positioning of maxillary labial fraenum. Once the baby is born, fraenula become redundant structures and only aid in positioning of baby teeth.

Other Causes of Teeth Gaps

Listed below are some of the other causes of teeth gaps:

  • Missing Teeth:

    This can create extra space, thereby causing gapped teeth.

  • Small Teeth and Big Jaw: Extra jaw space between teeth can cause teeth to drift apart, creating extra gap or space.
  • Natural Development of Teeth:

    Sometimes teeth develop in such a way that creates space in between.

  • Biting of Lower Lips:

    This can push the front teeth forward and move apart from each other, thereby creating gap.

  • Abnormal Development of Bone Structure:

    Sometimes the bone between the incisor develops as W-shaped structure. This can prevent the teeth from touching each other, creating gap.

Child Teeth Gaps

It is suggested that nearly 50% of children between 6-8 years have teeth gaps. Generally, teeth gaps close naturally on its own with the development of mouth and teeth. In some cases, when the gap is not filled naturally and an expert’s (dentist) advice is usually sought. A gap between the teeth can affect the speech of a child, making it difficult for him to pronounce ‘S’properly. This can lower his self confidence, thereby negatively influencing the way he interacts with others (social behavior).

How to Fix Teeth Gaps

Orthodontist may suggest various treatment options for fixing teeth gaps when the child is 10-11 years of age. The options may include:

  • Tooth Bonding:

    If the space between teeth is small, teeth bonding may be recommended. The procedure can last just for one hour or slightly more.

  • Porcelain Veneers:

    If the gap between the teeth is very large, merely filling it up can make one’s teeth look unnatural. Though, Porcelain veneer is a more expensive treatment, but is suggested as very much effective in closing large gaps.

  • Braces:

    Many believe wearing braces is a healthier option since nothing artificial is left attached to the teeth. But braces can be costly and can take several months to two years to close a gap depending on the size.

  • Invisalign:

    This is considered one of the most popular invisible braces. Though invisalign can take less time to close the teeth gaps than ordinary braces, it is also very costly.

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