Gap teeth, or diastema, is a dental phenomenon that occurs in an estimated 95 percent of children in America. It is defined as a gap or space between two teeth, most commonly the top two incisors. Diastema can be caused by many things, including overcrowding of teeth, missing teeth, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, a large labial frenulum and low muscle attachment.
Though diastema often goes away on its own when adult teeth come in, it can sometimes remain or even develop after adult teeth grow in, even if no diastema was present in the baby teeth.
In the past, many people have opted to correct their diastema with orthodontic treatments or veneers. But a new crop of gap-toothed celebrities and models may be encouraging young adults to keep their gap teeth as is and skip the cosmetic intervention.
Should You Keep Your Gap Teeth?
While gap teeth are largely a matter of personal preference, ultimately the decision should be made with the guidance of your dentist. While you may like the look of a gap between your top teeth, if it is throwing off your bite and causing problems like TMJ disorder, jaw pain, headaches and crowding of other teeth, you may want to consider orthodontics.
For patients with significant gaps, veneers may still be used to close up some of the gap without sealing it up entirely. This can help to bring symmetry to the face without completely removing the trait.
Why Keep Gap Teeth As Is?
In some cultures, such as the Nigerian culture, gap teeth are seen as a sign of beauty and strength. In French culture, gap teeth are seen as a sign of good luck. In fact, some people are so desperate to have gap teeth of their own, they’ve paid to have them created by a cosmetic dentist!
Still Not Sure?
If you’re not ready to part with your gap teeth just yet, or you’re not sure what to do, give Dr. Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550 and set up a consultation. Dr. Hill can evaluate your diastema and give you recommendations about whether you’d benefit from orthodontics or veneers. And if you want to keep your teeth the way they are, he can work with you to maintain the integrity of the gap as much as possible while adjusting your overall bite.