Diastemas And Treatment Options

What is a Diastema and How do I Treat It?
A “diastema” is an area of extra space between two or more teeth. The two front teeth of the upper jaw area is where diastema is most frequently seen. Many children experience diastema as primary teeth fall out, though in most cases these spaces close when the permanent teeth erupt.

Diastemas may also be caused by a tooth size discrepancy, missing teeth or an oversized labial frenum, the tissue that extends from the inside of the lip to the gum tissue where the upper two front teeth are located. Secondary reasons involve oral alignment issues such as an overjet or protrusion of the teeth.1

What are My Treatment Options?
Once your dentist or dental specialist has determined the reason for your diastema, a treatment plan will be discussed. Options may include:

  • Keep the diastema.
  • Orthodontic treatment to move the teeth and close the diastema.
  • Use porcelain veneers, very thin pieces of porcelain bonded to the outside of the teeth.
  • Crown and bridge work or replacement of teeth with implants (adults only).

If you have an oversized labial frenum, you may be referred to a periodontist for an oral consultation and surgical procedure called a frenectomy. This procedure involves cutting the frenum and then repositioning to allow for more flexibility. If the frenectomy is conducted on a child, the space may close by itself. If it is a teenager or adult, the space may need to be closed with braces. A consultation with your dentist is essential to determine which option is the right option to treatment for you.


© Copyright 2009 Colgate-Palmolive

1 Frazier-Bowers, S., Maxbauer, E. Orthodontics. Dental Hygiene Concepts, Cases, and Competencies. Mosby, 2008, 699-706.

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Top Tips for EARLY ORTHODONTICS

  • Swish with water before brushing – instruct your child to rinse with water after eating. This will loosen food that may be caught in the braces, then brush thoroughly.
  • Floss once a day – each night help you child floss. Flossing helps loosen food debris and plaque at and under the gum line that would otherwise harden into tartar. It can also help reach the nooks and crannies in the teeth that might be difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
  • Use a fluoride rinse – after brushing and before bed have your child rinse with fluoride rinse to help keep teeth strong and healthy
  • Dental visits every six months – take your child to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months. The dentist can point out areas that need more attention, and help make sure you're keeping your child’s teeth healthy and clean.

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