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How to treat Diastema

Some gaps are barely noticeable to the naked eye and some are more visible especially if they’re in the front of the teeth. The good news is there is no major harm in someone having this gap but for others, it may make them embarrassed or even shy to freely open their mouths when around people. Anything that makes you feel weary should be rectified or treated if there is a way to do so.

At iSmile Orthodontics we treat a number of patients in various parts of dentistry, often cosmetic dentistry is a part of the field where we hope to make someone feel better about a feature or dental problem that bothers them. Like mentioned, even though Diastema is not harmful it can make someone unhappy if they don’t like the gap in their teeth

What causes someone to have Diastema

A difference in the size of your jaw bones and the size of your teeth can cause extra space in between your teeth or cause teeth crowding. Sometimes your teeth are undersized, causing your main front teeth to separate or develop a space.

Bad habits can also be a cause, some children grow up sucking on their thumb or a favorite finger, this pulls the teeth forward and causes a gap. Most of us aren’t aware that there’s a correct an incorrect way of swallowing our food but in the case of Diastema, swallowing incorrectly can also cause a problem. An action referred to as the tongue thrust is the incorrect way of swallowing. In this instance, your tongue pushes against your front teeth and over time that pressure will cause spaces to form. The correct way of swallowing is the resting or pressing against your palate which doesn’t then interfere with your teeth.

Loose teeth also form spaces or gaps. A form of gum disease which is called Periodontal gum disease is when a bone that supports the tooth or teeth is lost, this all results in the teeth having no support and becoming loose. In time they form spaces

What about children? Does your child have gaps even though they don’t have a thumb sucking habit? Don’t despair, often children’s teeth grow out with gaps but as they grow older their baby teeth fall out and the teeth that grow out do so normally

Is your gap forever?

 If your teeth and jaw aren’t aligned as they should be then the gap you have could be for a lifetime unless you choose the option surgery. Maintain good oral health is very important when one is dealing with Diastema. For some people the spaces aren’t a health hazard and so they don’t see it as a problem, especially since its not a dental or gum disease. What if though you don’t like the gap or gaps, what are your options?

We have treatment options for you!

At iSmile Orthodontics we have a number of options you could consider. Let’s consider a few

Braces. This is a very popular option for most adults and children, to rectify the alignment of the teeth we usually highly recommend metal braces on the top and bottom of the teeth. The braces will be reviewed and rewired every 6 to 8 weeks to ensure that they are tightening or pulling back the teeth the way they should be. In terms of budget this a good viable option

Invisalign. This new technology is great for teens and for adults who don’t want any visibility. The appliance is custom made and is applied directly to the teeth, giving you the same effectiveness of normal braces. This is also a good option for someone who is shy, who might feel that the braces will draw attention to them

False teeth. Due to sickness or even injury, adult teeth may never grow back in and so you might need a more permanent solution. The false teeth we use for our patients are custom made and fit in perfectly and seamlessly into the existing row of their teeth.

Different Types of Misaligned Jaws

When a patient puts their teeth together, we call that relationship—in occlusion.

One of the things an orthodontist looks for, in a patient’s occlusion, is that the upper teeth are out over the top of the lower teeth.  That is normal occlusion. When the upper and lower teeth don’t meet comfortably the cause is a misaligned jaw. Sometimes if the condition is severe it can interfere with eating, breathing, sleeping, speech, and cause discomfort and pain even when the jaw isn’t moving. This is because the joint where the upper and lower jaw meets is complex, and when it isn’t able to function properly, chronic pain is often the result.

The most well-known issues in this category include overbites and underbites; however, there are other types of misaligned jaws.

Overbite

This is where there is a significant overlap of upper teeth over lower teeth. An ideal overbite has a degree of overlap that would be about one or two millimetres and is not regarded as a malocclusion. A deep overbite, also referred to as a vertical overbite, is approximately 4 to 10 millimetres deep, and is considered a malocclusion which requires treatment. When an overbite is deep, the patient’s chin generally is pushed back by the upper teeth towards the jaw joint. Deep overbites generally cause the shape of the patient’s face to be short and round. Without overbite correction, the patient’s speech is less than clear because the patient has to accommodate their jaw position for all the various types of function as speaking, chewing, clenching and grinding.

Underbite

An underbite occurs when a person’s lower jaw protrudes forward and in front of the upper jaw giving the chin and lower teeth prominence. Besides the aesthetic issue, underbites can also cause other problems, such as difficulty with chewing, swallowing and speaking. Underbites can wear down tooth enamel, increasing your chance of developing tooth decay or other dental problems. Underbites occur mostly due to genetic reasons. However, children who have had prolonged pacifier use may also develop an underbite.

Crossbite

Crossbites occur when one or more teeth may be tilted toward the cheek (known as buccal) or toward the tongue (known as lingual) as compared to the tooth above it. The crossbite can be on one or both sides of the jaw. The condition causes excessive stress on the jawbone. Sometimes it is caused by thumb sucking or by a delayed loss of baby teeth or an irregular eruption of new teeth.

Open Bite

This is when upper and lower teeth do not touch each other and are forced outwards – even when the mouth is closed.  The problem is often caused by any action by the patient which puts a strain on the alignment of the teeth, especially when the patient is young. Primary causes in this regard are thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and chewing on a pencil or some similar object. Prolonged and incorrect use of feeding bottles and pacifiers could also contribute to the development of the condition. The patient could develop a lisp from an open bite.

When these types of malocclusion occur, an orthodontist will be able to correct them using a variety of techniques. The method used to remedy your malocclusion will be determined once your orthodontist has diagnosed the condition.

Misaligned Jaw FAQs

Can thumb sucking affect my child’s teeth?

Yes. Thumb sucking can lead to a variety of issues such as open bites. If your child is in the habit of thumb sucking, it is in their best interest for you to step in to try and break this poor habit for the sake of their teeth.

How is malocclusion corrected?

There are a variety of ways in which an orthodontist may correct malocclusion. This ranges from orthodontic elastics to headgear. In extreme cases, surgery may be required.

How long will treatment take to correct malocclusion?

This is a highly individual matter and differs greatly from patient to patient. The time in which it takes to correct your bite is dependent on the severity of the malocclusion as well as whether or not it is coupled with any other issues. Treatment can range from anywhere between a few months to a few years.

 

If you have any questions about the alignment of your jaw, please contact us today!