Lauren Hutton, Michael Strahan, Madonna, Condoleezza Rice, Eddie Murphy and David Letterman. What do they all have in common? A gap between their two front teeth, which is medically termed a diastema. For celebrities, this can be a distinguishing characteristic. Nevertheless, most people prefer to eliminate the gap. Fortunately, that can almost always be accomplished with orthodontics while children are young. For this and other orthodontics, Tappan, NY, and Bergenfield, NJ, parents can trust the dentists at both of our conveniently located offices that will now be offering a comprehensive menu of pediatric dental services.
Why does my child have a gap between her teeth?
A diastema most often occurs between the two front teeth, although gaps can happen between any pair of teeth. This gap can occur for a number of different reasons, including:
- A jawbone that is too large for the size of the two front teeth
- Adjacent teeth that are missing or undersized
- Thumb sucking, which can pull the front teeth forward and create a gap
- A reflex known as a thrust, which causes the tongue to press forward rather that up against the palate when swallowing
- A labial frenum—that small piece of tissue that extends from the upper lip to the gum above your two front teeth—that over grows and prevents the space from closing naturally
As children lose their baby teeth, a temporary gap often appears when their permanent teeth erupt. In most cases, however, these spaces do close as the teeth move closer and closer to their final positions.
Correcting a Diastema
The method chosen for closing the gap between two front teeth in children depends on the reason for the gap. In some cases, a diastema is part of an overall misalignment that we will need to correct with braces. More often than not, a full set of braces on both the upper and lower arches are necessary to correct the diastema, because moving any teeth affects your whole mouth.
In addition to braces, your pediatric dentist in Tappan may elect to enlarge adjacent teeth—the lateral incisors—with dental crowns, porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding if they are too small.
For Orthodontics, Call Our Office Today
If your child has a diastema or any other type of orthodontic care need, then contact your pediatric dentist in Tappan, NY, or Bergenfield, NJ. We will be happy to consult with and find the best course of treatment for a beautiful smile.