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Teeth spacing in young children – what you need to know


Diastema is the medical term for teeth spacing

A diastema is the name given to the space between two teeth, particularly a gap. While gaps can appear between any teeth, the most common and noticeable form is a gap between the front two upper teeth.The development of a gap in your child’s teeth can be as a result of a mismatch between the size of the teeth and the upper or lower jaw bone. As when teeth become crowded if the jawbone is too small, so a diastema and teeth spacing can result if the jawbone is too big. To gain a more comprehensive knowledge of teeth spacing in children, we would recommend you download a copy of our free Teeth straightening guide which should answer many of your questions.

Other reasons for teeth spacing

Undersized or missing teeth can be the reason for a gap – the most common missing teeth being the those either side of the top front teeth, known as the lateral incisors. When these are absent, the two front teeth can develop a gap.

Another reason for the upper front teeth developing a gap is when the labial frenum – that section of tissue that runs from the inside of the upper lip to the gum – continues to grow and expands between the two front teeth, stopping them from growing together.

Spacing between teeth can also be the result of habits such as thumb sucking and pressing of the tongue against the front teeth. There is a swallowing reflex which affects a good number of people and which is known as a tongue thrust. When swallowing the tongue is pressed against the front teeth which, over a period of time, can lead to gaps appearing in the front upper teeth. Periodontal disease can also lead to a loosening of the teeth, which in turn can lead to unwanted gaps appearing.

For infants, gaps can appear in front teeth after milk teeth have fallen out and the new teeth are not yet fully developed. While we all want our children to look after their teeth when they get older, it is our responsibility to ensure that any dental problems which can be easily solved are dealt with as early as possible. As a result, if you are unsure whether your child is developing a diastema or not, here at Metamorphosis we would advise you to book a consultation with one of our orthodontists for peace of mind.

Is there a treatment for teeth spacing?

The answer is yes and it usually involves the use of dental braces to realign and move the teeth closer together.  

Orthodontic treatment can be extremely effective where teeth spacing is concerned. However, a more complex type of treatment underlines the need to visit an experienced orthodontist as treatment can also include dental implants to replace missing teeth, a bridge, or dentures. Where periodontal disease is the cause of a loosening of the teeth and a gap appearing, then periodontal treatment will be required to restore gum health. Thereafter a brace can be worn to realign the teeth and close any gaps. This can extend further to creating a splint to attach teeth together to stop a gap from reappearing, or the inclusion of a dental brace.

Will dental treatment achieve a permanent result for teeth spacing?

Where a diastema is concerned, if the gap has been closed as a result of an orthodontic repair, then to make sure the gap will stay closed, you will have to wear retainers during a short period of time, to help prevent any space reoccurring.

It cannot be stressed too strongly that regular dental check-ups are important, and especially for growing children. Even if your children’s teeth appear to be perfect, to ensure they remain that way, and to benefit from inspection from a fully-qualified orthodontist to help spot any potential problems early on, do get in touch with us here at Metamorphosis and make an appointment for a thorough dental examination, not just for your children, but for you as well. 


Call us on 020 3828 7116 or email smile@metamorphosisorthodontics.com

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