Diastema

Overview

Diastema refers to a condition where there is a gap between two teeth. Typically, you will notice diastemas occur between the upper front teeth more than in other parts of the mouth.

Why Procedure is Used

There are a number of reasons why gaps can occur between your teeth. In many cases, teeth are too small in relation to the size of the jaw bones. In particular, the teeth adjacent to your upper two front teeth may be too small. This is different from conditions where teeth are too large, and then become crowded.

As you may be aware, the inner upper portion of your lip extends until it reaches the gum that covers your front teeth. This area is referred to as the labial frenum. If it is too large, it can cause a gap between your two front teeth.

Young children may also have gaps when their primary teeth are falling out. Once the permanent teeth start erupting, these gaps often close on their own.

Patient Concerns to be Addressed

When diastema is the only problem present, most people seek to have the gap closed for the sake of appearance. In other cases, diastemas may be treated as part of aligning other teeth.

How Procedure is Performed

Treatment will depend largely on why the gap in your teeth occurred in the first place. For example, if the labial frenum is too large, a dentist may do a frenectomy in order to make it smaller. This surgery is most often done on young children. When performed in time, the adult teeth may come in without any gaps. If an adult has a frenectomy, he/she may need braces in order to close the gap.

In some cases, diastemas are treated with a full set of braces. Unfortunately, regardless of where the gap occurs, you will need a full braces in order to ensure that other teeth do not become misaligned.

Your dentist may also want to make undersized teeth larger by using veneers or larger crowns. When diastema occurs because of missing teeth, you may need to have an implant. If there are a number of teeth missing, you may need a bridge or partial denture.

Post-Operative Concerns

As part of good dental care, your child should visit an orthodontist when he/she is 7 years old. If you notice a diastema, it is important to ask about treatment to correct this issue. While your dentist may not opt to close the gap immediately, it is important to monitor the situation. If you have a diastema, it is important to wear your retainers in order to prevent the condition from coming back once the gap is closed.

Perils of Disease

If you want to prevent your children from developing diastemas, it is important to take good care of primary teeth. When they fall out too soon, adult teeth may not erupt in the right places. Unfortunately, once permanent teeth are in position, any gaps will remain until a dentist corrects the condition.

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