What is a diastema?
A diastema is a small space between two adjoining teeth, most often, the upper incisors. For cosmetic reasons, some people prefer to close this superfluous space.
What causes it?
- Loss of a tooth following an accident or an extraction
- One or several teeth are missing or impacted
- Teeth are too narrow for the width of the dental arches
- Wide frenulum between the middle incisors (the frenulum is the small fold of tissue attached to the gums)
Is it problematic?
If the diastema is located in the centre of the upper jaw, it usually doesn’t cause any problems.
However, if a diastema has formed because of a change in dentition, this additional space could have more serious consequences. For example, the loss of a tooth could cause adjacent teeth to migrate toward the empty space, causing premature wear or even alignment, occlusion or chewing problems. Furthermore, the tooth opposite to the empty space no longer has any support during chewing, making it unstable. If nothing is done to correct the situation, that tooth may eventually fall out.
A diastema can be closed in many ways. Your dentist will assess the situation and propose the most appropriate option.
When an interincisal diastema isn’t causing any dental problems, choosing to close it is purely cosmetic. A veneer can fill the empty space without modifying the position of the teeth. It’s a simple solution with excellent results.
Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are cemented to the surface of teeth. The interdental space is closed by installing veneers that are slightly wider than the incisors.
Crowns are another option. A crown completely covers a tooth, so it can modify the shape while covering the superfluous space. This is also a good solution, especially when teeth are significantly damaged by cavities or a fracture.
If the diastema is very wide and it’s causing a more complex alignment problem, orthodontics is the best solution.
There are many orthodontic treatments available. According to your needs, the dentist will propose a traditional permanent device, a removable device or Invisalign-type transparent aligners. A proper assessment of your situation will help determine the right strategy. Whichever treatment is chosen, teeth will be gradually repositioned until they reach their optimal location.
Orthodontics can do much more than close a diastema. A treatment of this type can correct dental alignment problems and ensure better occlusion.
If you have any questions about closing an interdental space, speak to your dentist today. He or she will take the time to explore the various options with you and propose a treatment plan that best suits your needs.