What is Diastema?

Diastema is a space or a gap that is found between two teeth. It will appear more often between the two upper front teeth although it can occur between any two teeth. A mismatch between the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth will cause either spaces between the teeth or a crowding of the teeth. If the teeth are too small for the jaw bone then there will be spaces between the teeth while if the teeth are too big for the jaw bone then the teeth will be crowded.

There are also other reasons why spaces between the teeth develop. There are times where the teeth are missing or are simply undersized. This happens a lot with the upper lateral incisors. These are teeth that are next to the two upper front teeth.

A diastema can also be caused by oversized labial frenums. The labial frenum is a piece of tissue that extends from the inside of your upper lip all the way to the gum just above your two upper front teeth. In certain cases, the labial frenum will continue to grow and pass between the two front teeth. When this happens, it will block the natural closing space between these teeth.

As your children grow up, there will be temporary gaps in their mouth as their baby teeth fall out. Most of these spaces will close when the permanent teeth get to their final position. However, some of them will not.

What are some of the symptoms of Diastema?

Diastema does not cause any symptoms.

What is the diagnosis for diastema?

You will notice spaces between your teeth when you brush and floss. Your dentist will be able to see these spaces through a dental examination.

How long does diastema last?

When you reach adulthood and your permanent teeth are in place, the spaces will likely stay there for the rest of your life.

How can you prevent diastema?

You can not prevent all the spaces in diastema. The best way to prevent or reduce the chances of diastema is to take care of your baby teeth or your primary teeth. Your baby teeth set the spaces for your permanent teeth. If they get lost too early then the adult teeth may not enter the mouth in the right places.

How is diastema treated?

Diastema is usually part of a set of problems that can be treated with orthodontics. In some cases, diastema is the only problem although people may still seek treatment for the sake of aesthetics. People will usually wear braces because they are able to move the teeth together. Normally, a full set of braces is worn even if there is only one space. This is because if you move any teeth, it will affect the whole mouth already.

Aside from braces, you may use crowns or veneers. If your lateral incisors are too small then they may be widened through veneers, bonding, or crowns. If you are missing some teeth then you may need more dental care. You may have to get a dental implant, a partial denture, or a bridge.

If a large labial frenum is causing the gap then you may have to go through a surgery called a frenectomy. This will reduce the size of your frectum. If a frectum is done on a young child then the space may be able to close on its own. If a frenectomy is done on an adult or an older child then the space may have to be closed using braces.

When should you call a professional?

If you or your child has space between their teeth then you should talk to a dentist or an orthodontist. An orthodontist specializes in braces. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that your children should have a complete orthodontic check-up by the time they reach the age of seven. Treatment may or may not start at that age.

What is the prognosis for diastema?

If a diastema is closed through orthodontics or through dental repair then the space will stay closed although in order to prevent the space from coming back, you should wear your retainers and follow the guidelines from your orthodontist. You should visit your dentist regularly so that you monitor your progress and make sure everything is going as planned.

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