childers orthodontics jeanna

Gaps in Teeth/Diastema (WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW TO FIX)

Gap teeth are a well-known cosmetic dental issue and can be caused by anything from thumb-sucking to gum disease. It’s possible to address this problem with braces or other orthodontic treatments but is it always necessary? So does having a gap between your teeth mean you need immediate treatment? We discuss that and more below. First, let’s see why diastema occurs.




Possible Effects of Gaps

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an insidious and damaging condition that can cause a person’s teeth to loosen, move out of place, or even fall out.

Gum diseases are sneaky in the way they slowly wear away at tooth enamel until it wears down completely over time and causes serious dental problems like cavities. Gum infections have been linked to dementia, which makes getting regular checkups with your dentist all the more important.


Tongue Issues

Tongue thrusting is a swallowing reflex that can cause tooth gaps to develop. This happens when your tongue pushes against the top teeth as you swallow and it’s relatively unusual among adults, but children are commonly known for this phenomenon.


Pre-existing Gaps

Missing teeth can cause spacing issues. If you think that a missing tooth or two is no big deal, consider the consequences of what will happen to your other teeth without proper intervention.

They’ll start drifting outwards and leaving gaps between themselves as well as with neighboring ones. Missing permanent adult teeth also affect how we chew food, leading to additional dental problems like gingivitis or periodontal disease in some cases.


Thumb Sucking

Children that suck their thumbs or use a pacifier are opening up spaces between teeth, which can lead to dental issues.


The Frenulum

The frenulum is a small piece of tissue that connects the upper lip to the bottom lip. If it’s too large, then this can interfere with how teeth meet and affect your smile.


Health Issues From Gaps

Some people think the gaps in your teeth are a good way to keep them clean, but this is not true. The back of your mouth has many small holes and food can easily get stuck there if you don’t brush or floss well enough.

You may also miss large areas with these traps so over time it sets up tooth decay and gum disease when left untreated. Braces close those spaces for easy maintenance that will make sure nothing gets trapped between your pearly whites.


Braces close those spaces for easy maintenance



Your gut begins at your mouth. To digest food well, you need to chew it up until the bits are small enough for our stomachs to do their thing and break down those chunks into smaller ones so that they can be easily healthily digested by intestines.

If teeth cannot efficiently grind food or if there is too much space between them, then larger pieces of undigested foods may result which will overburden the digestive system post-treatment with more instances of indigestion.


Options For Treating Widely Spaced Teeth

Orthodontists can help you choose from several ways to make your teeth straighter. You’ll get an initial consultation where they will assess how treatment fits with the space between your teeth and gums. As well as other aspects like jaw structure or bite alignment that may be contributing factors for why there is less room in-between the two molars.

It turns out options include therapy without any surgery at all. Some people experience fewer bouts of indigestion following this approach.



Invisalign works similarly to braces, but rather than adjusting the wires every few weeks, the patient will receive a new set of plastic aligners designed to straighten their teeth.

The aligners must be worn at all times except when eating, brushing the teeth, or flossing. As patients progress through the series of aligners, their teeth will be slowly re-positioned until they reach their final position.


Damon Braces

Many patients are interested in minimizing the appearance of braces. As a great alternative to conventional, metal braces, Damon Clear is becoming increasingly popular with both children and adults. These braces utilize “tieless” brackets that align teeth just as well as traditional, elastic-based braces.



Contact us for a FREE Consultation

Now that you know the basics of gaps in your teeth, you can confidently get treatment without worrying about their effect on your life.

If you would like to find out more about how to take care of your teeth while wearing braces, set up an appointment with Dr. Childers at one of the three convenient Childers Orthodontics locations.




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