Teeth: Gaps and Spacing
Teeth: Gaps and Spacing
Things which grow need enough space to develop and grow strong and healthy. We all have left a plant in a pot for too long, and when we go to move it into something larger find that the roots have become bound and stretched to fill the entire space to capacity. On the other hand, having too much space can also be a problem; in the case of a plant in an oversized pot; the excess space allows for unwanted weeds to establish themselves, eventually overtaking the plant you wished to see grow.
Your child’s dention is similar, in that just the right amount of space is necessary for the growth and development of healthy smiles. At Roeder Orthodontics, Dr. Roeder can offer your child a comprehensive assessment of their oral development and habits to ensure their smile develops within the Goldilocks zone wherein the teeth have just the right amount of space for a stellar smile for life.
Mind the Gap
Gaps between the teeth (called disastema) can occur between any two teeth, but are most common between the two upper front teeth (the central incisors). Gaps or spaces can develop for a number of reasons, including:
- A discrepancy between the size of the jawbones and the size of the teeth themselves, with gaps occurring when the teeth are too small for the jaw during development.
- Undersized or missing teeth can cause the adjacent teeth to spread.
- Disastema between the central incisors can also be caused by an oversized, over-developed, or tight labial frenum, which can hamper the natural closing of the space between the teeth.
- Bad oral habits can also lead to increased tooth spacing, including thumb sucking and tongue thrusting.
- Children will experience temporary gaps as their baby teeth fall out, but these spaces will close as permanent teeth erupt into the spaces provided.
Importance of Correct Spacing
Our earlier analogy of a potted plant provides us with good insight of the importance of correct tooth spacing, both during developmental stages, and throughout life. A healthy developing smile requires just enough room to grow. If either the jaw or teeth are growing too quickly – or too large relative to one another – spacing is going to be affected, either through overcrowding or disastema.
Gaps between the teeth can negatively affect dental hygiene, leaving difficult to clean areas, and can result in further tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Flossing does not always prevent decay, and can possibly cause further damage to the gums and the tissue connecting the gums to the root of the teeth. Untreated plaque, tartar, and accumulated food particles can separate the teeth from the gums, loosening their sockets. Both disposable and reusable bristled interdental brushes are available, and can improve dental hygiene in cases where gaps in teeth are problematic for regular brushing and flossing. Our team at Roeder Orthodontics can find the best options for you, and also instruct you on effective cleaning techniques.
Treatment of Gaps and Spacing
Disastema can be both part of a larger set of issues requiring orthodontic treatment, and also a problem of its own, for both practical reasons and reasons of appearance. Treatment options will depend on a good number of factors, and Dr. Roeder and his team will discuss any treatment options after a thorough free initial consultation and examination. Treatment options will vary according to the development of the individual, and can include:
- Braces, which function to bring the teeth together. Often it is necessary to wear a full set of braces on both the upper and lower teeth (maxillary and mandibular) because the movement of any teeth will affect the entire mouth
- Teeth that are too small may be widened with crowns, bonding or veneers
- Spaces caused by missing teeth can be preserved with dental implants or a partial denture, or with a bridge
Call us today at 828-274-2500 to schedule a free consultation. Roeder Orthodontics proudly serves patients throughout the Asheville community and surrounding areas.