Diastema is a gap between your teeth. You will generally see this between the top two front teeth but, gaps can be seen between any of your teeth. If your jaw bone, and tooth sizes are mismatched, it can cause teeth to crowd or for a space to appear between teeth. There are times when teeth can are missing or even undersized. This will usually happen with the teeth beside the top two front teeth, (incisors), causing a space to be developed.
Bad habits can also cause gaps to be formed between teeth. If a child sucks their thumb, it can cause the front teeth to be pulled forward, creating gaps.
Spaces can also develop from an incorrect swallowing reflex. For many people, the tongue will press against the palate (roof of mouth), when swallowing but there are others that have developed a reflex called the tongue thrust. When swallowing, they press their tongue to the back of the front teeth rather than the roof of their mouth. Eventually, this causes the front teeth to move forward and again, creating gaps or spaces between teeth.
When baby teeth fall out, of course gaps will temporarily exist in children. These gaps will usually be filled once the permanent teeth have fully grown in.
Many times diastema can be part of a variety of problems that will require treatment from an orthodontist. Most will get braces, which will move teeth together and correct the patient’s bite. No matter where the diastema is located, orthodontic treatment is commonly recommended on your lower and upper teeth. Once the diastema has been closed through orthodontic repair, the space will usually stay closed for good with the use of proper retention. To prevent any gaps or spaces from returning, you will be given retainers to wear as directed by your orthodontist. Be sure to schedule regular visits with your orthodontist to make sure any work you have had stays in great shape.