Diastema refers to disproportionate gaps or spaces between the teeth. These spaces can form anywhere in the mouth, but are sometimes noticeable between the two upper front teeth. This condition affects both adults and children. In children, gaps may disappear once their permanent teeth grow in. The jaw in some patients can be genetically too large or the teeth are too small. In addition, various injuries, accidents and a loss of teeth can cause a diastema.
Diastema causes some problems not only aesthetically but also in terms of health. Patients with diastema have a more favourable oral structure for bacteria and plaque formation, because there are normally no gaps between the teeth. In addition, speech disorders are frequently experienced due to the tongue being inserted into these gaps.
Treatment Options for Diastema
In the case of patients with diastema, the distance between the teeth is first examined in order to determine the most appropriate treatment. There are 3 main treatment options that are widely used upon a successful evaluation of the gap width.
Composite bonding is a very practical method used in cases where the clearance between the teeth is minimal and for slight tooth abrasions and fractures. It is the process of enlarging the affected teeth by coating them with a composite material in order to close the existing gaps. Treatment is usually completed in a single session. As composite bonding is a more sensitive procedure than other methods, it is necessary to carefully protect the teeth that have had composite veneer treatment applied to them.
Laminate (Leaf) Porcelain Veneers
In this treatment application, the surface of the natural tooth enamel tissue is filed only very moderately. This is an aesthetic dentistry application which can change the colour and shape of the teeth permanently according to the person’s aesthetic perception and expectations. After the teeth have been successfully prepared, special laminates (porcelain leaves) are prepared according to the size of the tooth and are carefully bonded with special adhesives to the newly filed tooth surface. This treatment is considered to be more stable and durable than composite veneers and can offer a patient a smooth, straight and natural looking smile, without any gaps.
In the case of patients with larger gaps between their teeth that cannot be treated with composite bonding or laminate porcelain veneer application, orthodontics can be considered as a suitable choice of treatment. In the event of severe gaps and bite/closure disorders, braces can be used for correction, whilst preserving the patient’s own natural teeth. The expected treatment period for orthodontics is however longer than the other available methods.