Most people don’t know the official term for gaps in between two or more teeth. People simply call them gaps or spaces, but their dentists refer to them as diastemas. Most commonly, diastemas occur between the upper set of a person’s two front teeth (their upper central incisors).

Diastemas can occur in youth, with many children experiencing the condition when baby teeth fall out. Spaces in between teeth can sometimes close when permanent teeth erupt and grow into place. However, an oversized labial frenum — tissue extending from inner lip to gum tissue where the upper central incisors are located — can also cause diastemas. Additional reasons include overjets or protrusions, which are issues having to do with oral alignment.

Certain cases of oversized labial frenum might require periodontist intervention, which will involve a procedure called a frenectomy. This involves surgical repositioning of the frenum which facilitates flexibility. With children who are growing their adult teeth, cutting the labial frenum may cause the teeth to grow together, making braces entirely unnecessary. Teenagers and adults will generally require orthodontics or additional solutions like Invisalign or porcelain veneers.

Diastema solutions include:

  • Orthodontic realignment without cosmetic involvementBraces (ceramic or metal) with an estimated treatment time approximately 24 months, depending on severity.
  • Invisalign — This innovative method involves a series of translucent trays worn at least 22 hours daily and changed every two weeks, repositioning less severe cases of diastema and bite misalignment.
  • Orthodontic realignment with cosmetic intervention — This is where we reposition teeth to a more desirable position while incorporating aesthetic smile redesign (which can include bleaching and porcelain laminate veneers). This procedure might have a reduced treatment time of 12-24 months.
  • Porcelain veneers — This procedure can involve gum tissue alteration, tooth shaving, and porcelain veneer application. Porcelain crowns are made in a lab to match the color of your natural teeth. Many folks can get this procedure done and walk out their dentist’s office with a brand new smile in two visits. Composite dental bonding is a less long term solution to porcelain veneers.

Enlisting the help of an experienced orthodontist is essential to treating unwanted diastemas. In the Los Angeles area, where movie star quality smiles seem to grace almost every street corner, one such dental practice that specializes in diastema closures is Pacific Dental Care. Dr. Marine Martirosyan serves the greater Los Angeles area, including Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena.