Have your talked to your dentist about closing diastemas between your teeth? What do Madonna, Samuel L. Jackson, and 50 Cent have in common? Not much, but they do all share a dental feature called a diastema. A diastema is any noticeable space between teeth. Most people won’t see a gap between molars or other hidden teeth. In practice, a diastema often means a visible gap between the top two front teeth.
For some people, the gaps are not a big deal. A prominent diastema can be a cause of embarrassment, though. If you do not like this dental feature, there are multiple ways to fix it. Dr. James Fondriest brings decades of experience in cosmetic dentistry.
Should I worry about my diastema?
For most people, a diastema is a cosmetic problem and not a dental problem. Unlike other cosmetic issues, like teeth crowding, a diastema does not interfere with your ability to clean your tooth. Just because the gap in your tooth isn’t a dental problem does not mean that you should not address it.
In some cases, a large gap may lead to mild speech problems. The tongue needs to touch the back of your front teeth to create certain sounds. Being able to speak clearly is important for one’s own confidence.
The appearance of our teeth can impact our self-esteem, work life, and personal relationships. Some people are proud of their diastema and see it as a unique sign of beauty. But not everyone does.
If you find yourself thinking about the gap in your smile often, then it may be a source of embarrassment. Ask your dentist more about how and why closing diastemas can help you.
The choice to undergo cosmetic dentistry is a personal one. We will be glad to guide you along the way.
Common Causes of Diastemas
The spacing of our teeth is largely determined by the size of our teeth and the availability of space along our jaws. In other words, genetics play a big role. If your jaws are too large for your teeth, gaps may form. Diastemas can even run in families.
Young children can develop this feature if they suck their thumb. Thumbsucking can cause the front teeth to protrude. Other development conditions can lead to a gap in young age. The presence of a gap as a child does not mean that the adult teeth will also have a diastema.
Not surprisingly, most adults who have a diastema did not have braces as a teenager.
What are my treatment options for closing diastemas?
Closing a diastema is the same thing as closing gaps. The same treatment options apply. Gapped teeth is a common cosmetic problem. If you are unsure which option is right for you, Dr. Fondriest can go into further detail about these effective treatment options.
One of the simplest and most affordable options for treating a diastema is bonding. The composite resin can be made to blend in with the color of your natural teeth. If you have had composite fillings placed after removal of tooth decay, then you are familiar with bonding.
Tooth bonding has bits of quartz in it that gives it a shine that is similar to enamel. The cosmetic option can be completed in well under an hour. Often, the entire process can be finished in around half an hour. Bonding is also one of the more affordable options for closing diastemas.
The first step is to use an etching liquid to open the tiny pores in the enamel. Once the surface of your teeth is very clean, Dr. Fondriest will mold the bonding to fill the gap. This step is part artistry and part dentistry.
Once the bonding is set, a blue light will be used to quickly harden the material. Any small changes can be made at that point. The bonding may be polished so it blends in with the luster of your teeth. Bonding can last several years or longer.
Using veneers for closing diastemas
Veneers are thin shells that are placed over the front of teeth. Our office offers no-prep veneers. This unique option does not require drilling on your tooth. To address diastema, two veneers can be fabricated that slightly larger than your natural teeth.
When placed, the veneers will meet in a manner that closes the gap in your smile. Veneers have a longer lifespan than bonding. Porcelain veneers cover the entire front part of teeth. The treatment can also be completed using bonding.
Veneers offer drastic results. If you are looking to address multiple cosmetic issues, this may be the right choice for you. Maintaining veneers is easy.
You should never use the shells to bite hard objects. Doing a good job with hygiene will help keep the tooth under your veneer healthy.
Your gum tissue health will matter too. Receding gum lines can malign the appearance of your veneers. Our hygienist can provide tips and advice on how you can maintain your transformed smile following veneer placement.
Dental Crowns to close diastemas
Crowns completely encase a tooth in a ceramic “cap.” Crowns require drilling off some enamel to make room for the restoration. Once your tooth is prepared, crowns can be made that fill in the gap and close your diastema.
Crowns are durable and can last well over 10 years when taken care of. Dr. Fondriest will place your veneer using a strong bonding agent. Regular check-ups are a good idea the long term health of your dental crowns.
For large gaps, braces or aligner trays may be the best option. This treatment is not invasive and doesn’t require dental changes. If you do not suffer from small teeth, this may be a good option.
The treatment timeline for braces can last anywhere from several months to a few years. One benefit of this option is that is can correct crooked teeth while fixing your diastema. Braces do come with dietary restrictions. Candidates should be willing to clean and maintain their orthodontic appliances on a daily basis.
Braces generally offers long term results. While veneers and cosmetic bonding require the dentist to drill, orthodontics does not.
Once your treatment is complete, you will simply need to wear your retainer at night to maintain your cosmetic results. The retainer will ensure that your space doesn’t come back.
Schedule Your Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Today
While celebrities like Madonna can rock a diastema, not all of us as are as fortunate. For many, a diastema can be a source of embarrassment. The condition can even be the cause of speech problems.
Dr. Fondriest will listen to your concerns. He is known for taking his time when advising patients.
Once you have decided on a treatment, a member of our team will schedule your first visit. Closing diastemas is a common treatment we offer. A smile that is free of gaps can give you renewed confidence.
To schedule your diastema closure consultation, please call (847) 234-0517.