While we all may long for that perfect smile, with smooth, evenly spaced teeth you can gloss your tongue over, it is not something that everyone can come by naturally!

Though the problem may seem minor to some, many people experience gaps between teeth, referred to as a diastema. At the very least, such gaps can appear unattractive and inhibit a person from truly flashing their biggest smile! In other cases, the diastema may be indicative of other dental issues that need to be addressed before any corrective action can be taken to deal with the gap itself.

Technically, a diastema can occur between any teeth. However, the most common, and the most visible, is a gap between the two front teeth of the upper jaw. Given the greater visibility, it is usually the one people find most troubling.

In some instances, there may be a mismatch between the size and shape of the teeth or even between the jawbone and the teeth.  As the body grows and develops, the teeth are never able to set into perfect alignment as the connections are just not in place to allow for this.

Similarly, other people may experience a diastema as a result of missing teeth. An accident that results in the loss of one or more teeth can change the development path your teeth will take to deal with the additional space.

Thumb sucking commonly leads to gaps between the front teeth. A major problem for thumb suckers is that the gap may continue to grow unless the individual stops the thumb sucking activity.

Another common cause for such gaps is periodontal disease. Particularly as this condition advances, bone loss can become more and more of a problem. With such bone loss, a diastema may develop.

As you can see, the causes for developing a diastema are quite varied. At Rideau Dental Centre, we believe that in order to properly treat your specific condition, we need to know its root cause. Treatment may vary depending upon the culprit behind your condition.

For example, those with missing teeth may require an implant to properly fill the space and allow the teeth to fall back into a more normal alignment. An implant may also be required for someone with periodontal disease depending upon how advanced your condition is and whether there is sufficient natural bone in place to affix an implant.

Thumb suckers may ultimately require orthodontic treatment. However, the priority will be to look for ways to curb the thumb sucking before beginning with orthodontics.

Those with a mismatch in the size and shape of their teeth may simply have to consider some form of cosmetic treatment to enhance the appearance, such as veneers. The bottom line is that every situation will be unique and we will need to assess your condition before prescribing the treatment that is right for you.

It may even be necessary to consider a combination of more than one of the above suggestions. Whatever the situation, we are always happy to work closely with you to design the best option. Because developing options that best address your condition is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon