Having separated teeth, or a diastema, is one of the most common dental conditions that affects the confidence of people of all ages who do not appreciate a smile with a space between the teeth.
Attractive to some, unpleasant to others, diastemas can affect both the lower and upper teeth, in any region of the mouth, as well as your psychological well-being.
In this content, we will explain to you the causes of separated teeth and the possible treatments to close the diastema.
ℹ️ What is a diastema?
Diastema, or spaced teeth, refers to the dental condition where there is extra space between the teeth.
Many patients with diastema in their front teeth of the upper arch often struggle with maintaining their self-esteem and confidence, especially in social situations.
Diastemas can be classified as:
- Congenital dental diastema: occurs when the teeth do not develop or grow correctly. It can be caused by genetic factors or problems in the development of the maxilla or mandible.
- Acquired diastema: occurs when the teeth develop normally, but end up being separated from each other due to factors such as teeth grinding, frequent biting of hard objects, or improper orthodontic appliances.
The good news is that there are treatments that can help minimize the visual effects of this dental condition.
🤔 Causes of Diastema: Why Do Gaps Appear Between Teeth?
Assuming the patient already has permanent teeth, there can be many causes of diastema. According to our specialists, the most common ones are:
- Tongue pressure: when swallowing, some people exert pressure with their tongue on their front teeth, which can result in this extra space;
- Missing teeth or changes in formation: changes in formation can result in differences in tooth size;
- Periodontal diseases: diseases that result in the loss of bone tissue, such as periodontitis or gingivitis, often cause some weakness in the teeth, which can result in the appearance of extra space between them;
- Abnormal development of the labial frenum: this condition can block the closing of the teeth;
- Teeth grinding habit: teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can lead to the separation of the front teeth. This occurs because the pressure exerted by grinding can be sufficient to displace teeth out of their normal positions;
- Habits of biting hard objects: biting hard objects, such as pencils, pens or nails, can exert abnormally high pressure on the teeth, which can lead to the separation of the front teeth.
- Genetic factors: Some people are more likely to develop diastema due to genetic factors. If someone in your family has or had diastema, it is possible that you may also be predisposed to develop it.
What about children? Is it normal for children to have separated teeth?
As a rule, children tend to have this extra space between their teeth during the shedding of their baby teeth, and this is a natural process. However, diastema may appear due to the use of pacifiers and bottles.
Although having spaced teeth is not a problem, when the extra space persists even after the growth of permanent teeth, it is best to seek a specialist to change this condition. This will help prevent possible psychological problems in children.
What are the ways to prevent separated teeth?
There is no prevention for this dental condition, but there are several forms of treatment. Therefore, if you have extra space between your teeth, the first step is to schedule an appointment to have your case evaluated.
Next, the dentist may advise you to implement dental veneers or to use a dental appliance to reduce the space between your teeth.
✅ Treatments to correct gapped teeth: what options are available?
Although many people, including celebrities, may not seek a solution for gapped teeth, the reality is that this condition can affect a person’s daily life.
Social moments with friends, family, or even at work can become real challenges for those with gapped teeth who do not like having them. Hence, the importance of seeking appropriate treatment for the problem, preferably before it affects the patient’s mental health.
The following are some of the treatments that will help resolve the diastema and restore confidence and self-esteem to the patient.
1️⃣ Dental Braces
Dental braces are one of the treatments with the slowest results, but they are often used, especially among young people and teenagers – although more and more adults are opting for this solution.
This device is placed on the teeth to exert a certain pressure on them and, thus, reduce the space between them and align them. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to wear braces for only a few months or you may need more time.
At the end of the treatment, the dentist will place a fixed retainer to prevent new separation.
If you don’t feel comfortable with this treatment, don’t worry, there are other options to reduce the extra space between your teeth. The dentist can find the most appropriate solution for you.
What is the average duration of this treatment?
It depends on the severity of the situation. In simpler cases, it is possible to align the teeth in just a few months.
But on average, diastema treatment lasts about 12 to 36 months, or about 1 to 3 years. During the treatment time, the patient should have several appointments to adjust the treatment.
What are the types of braces available in the market?
There are two types of braces currently available: fixed braces and removable braces. Fixed braces, as the name suggests, cannot be removed throughout the day and are usually used by teenagers and adults.
Removable braces are usually more commonly used by children as they can be taken off at certain times of the day.
Does braces cause pain?
Some patients may experience some pain or discomfort when using braces because they exert a certain amount of pressure on the teeth. Once the patient adapts to the pressure, they no longer feel the slight pain.
Is orthodontic treatment expensive?
Nowadays, there are already affordable options for braces, unlike a few years ago. The price depends on the type of braces used and the patient’s condition.
2️⃣ Dental Veneers
Dental veneers are the most recommended option for adults as they provide a faster and long-lasting solution. Unlike dental braces, dental veneers offer satisfactory results in a short amount of time.
In this technique, the dentist will increase the size of the teeth until there is no extra space between them or there is a very small space. And the best part is, it does not cause any discomfort to the patient.
But how is this technique put into practice? The dentist will create a thin dental veneer that has a similar appearance to your teeth. Then, the veneer will be bonded to the teeth, increasing their size.
What is the duration of this treatment?
It all depends on the state of the diastema, but in simple cases, the treatment can last only one day.
Does the implementation of dental veneers cause pain?
This treatment, unlike dental braces, does not cause pain or discomfort to the patient. For this reason, it is the choice of many.
Is dental veneer treatment expensive?
The price varies according to the patient’s condition. It is best to schedule a consultation with a specialist and let them evaluate the problem and give you a more accurate price.
3️⃣ Frenectomy Surgery
Frenectomy is a simple surgery in which the thin “membrane” known as the labial frenulum in the mouth is repositioned with the goal of increasing flexibility. This treatment is commonly used when teeth are separated due to extra space between the incisors. The dentist may choose conventional or laser surgery to address the diastema.
Does frenectomy surgery cause pain?
This surgery is performed under local anesthesia, meaning the procedure does not cause any pain to the patient. After surgery, the patient may experience some discomfort, but painkillers will be prescribed.
What are the postoperative care instructions?
There is no need for rest during the postoperative period. To improve the recovery process, avoid hard foods for the recommended time period as advised by the dentist, avoid consuming very hot foods in the first few days, take the prescribed medication, and double your efforts in maintaining good oral hygiene.
🧑🏻⚕️ Is it really necessary to close the diastema?
Since we are talking about treatments, another question arises: is diastema treatment really necessary?
Many people live with separated teeth their whole lives and do not seek treatment for this issue. In fact, some celebrities embrace the look and do not seek a solution for their gap teeth in the fashion world.
But this is not the case for everyone. Many people feel a hit to their self-esteem and have a harder time maintaining confidence in social situations. Smiling or speaking becomes more challenging for these individuals.
Therefore, if separated teeth affect your relationship with yourself and others, we recommend scheduling a consultation with one of our specialists for treatment of this issue. They will evaluate the state of the diastema and find the solution with the best results and least discomfort for you.
Do you want to close the gaps between your teeth?
Use the form below or call (+351) 915 550 999 ℹ️ to book your consultation.
📍 Atelier do Sorriso Almancil, Faro, Algarve