Diastema or gapped teeth is a common phenomenon occurring between any two teeth. The reasons could vary from unhealthy childhood habits to a disease or infection. Gaps between teeth, although medically unharmful, usually create difficulty for kids to clean them thoroughly. That could further lead to bad oral health in the future. So, if your child has gapped teeth, you could consider some of the treatment options to have better oral health. Let us first see what causes gapped teeth in children.
Causes of gapped teeth
• Unhealthy habits - Children tend to get used to tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking. These patterns start affecting the shape of their jaw due to unnecessary pressures on the front teeth. That most often leads to gaps. They force the teeth to dislocate from their original position leading to diastema. The longer these habits last, the more the condition will worsen.
• Missing Teeth - This usually appears if one of the two lateral incisors is missing. These are the teeth on the sides of the upper front teeth. If these are missing, it automatically causes a gap between the two front teeth due to repositioning.
• Labial fraenum - Another common cause of gapped teeth is the size of a child's labial fraenum. It is the tissue that runs on the inside of the upper lip connecting the lip to the gum. An abnormal sizing of this fold of tissue running between the front teeth and the upper lip can trigger gaps between teeth.
• Periodontitis - Periodontitis, also identified as gum disease or infection, damages the tissues around the teeth and bone. It gives rise to inflammation, bleeding, and swelling in the gums, due to which they fail to hold the teeth adequately. Lack of treatment, in this case, most often gives rise to gaps between teeth.
Looking for possible treatment options is the next step once you figure out what led to your child's gapped teeth.
· Braces - Dental braces are a safe, efficient, and reliable solution to fixing tooth gaps and many other forms of tooth misalignment in children. Since children's jaws and teeth are still developing, it is easier and quicker to guide them back in their position using braces. They help treat mild diastema and close small spaces between teeth.
· Invisalign - If your child is conscious of metal braces, you could consider opting for Invisalign. It is a virtually invisible alternative to the traditional metal braces and, hence, is hardly noticeable. These clear aligners are an excellent solution for kids with self-esteem issues who are seeking treatment for their gapped teeth.
· Dental Implants - If the gap is as wide as a tooth, a replacement tooth could work well for your child. A dental implant holds a prosthetic tooth that perfectly fits between the gapped teeth when inserted into the bone or gum. Although costlier than other treatment options, dental implants offer several long-term benefits.
Gapped teeth in children are not a cause for worry. Yet, it is ideal to consult an orthodontist to understand its future implications.
Schedule an appointment for your kid soon and help them achieve better oral health.