The dental diastema, more commonly known as the happy teeth, is a space between the front teeth.
This gap is not only an aesthetic problem, it can also impact the health of the teeth.
Nevertheless, there are corrections for the dental diastema. Find out which ones and at what age it is possible to correct this gap between the front teeth.
What is a diastema?
More commonly referred to as the happy teeth, a diastema refers to a relatively large space between the upper front teeth.
However, these spaces can appear between any teeth.
The causes of a dental diastema are multiple:
- A mismatch between the size of the jaw and the size of the teeth,
- Teeth that are not big enough or missing,
- An overdeveloped lip brake,
- Thumb sucking during childhood,
- Poor swallowing,
- A gum disease.
In some cases, a dental diastema can cause bite problems or discomfort when eating.
It seems, however, that in most cases the concern is primarily aesthetic.
To ensure that the diastema does not affect oral health, it is still advisable to consult a dentist.
What corrections for a dental diastema?
For reasons of health, comfort or aesthetics, it is not unusual for people to want to correct their teeth.
Orthodontic solutions to dental diastema
Braces are a traditional braces solution. They are placed on the outside of the incisors, bringing them closer together.
More innovative solutions such as invisible orthodontics, thanks to transparent aligners, are attractive to adults for their aesthetic appeal. In addition, these removable aligners have the advantage of being easily removed for eating and brushing.
Using surgery to close a diastema
In case of periodontitis
If the diastema is the result of periodontitis, the dentist performs a periodontal curettage. This allows the removal of plaque and tartar. An antibiotic treatment may also be prescribed.
Sometimes, when the supporting bone is too damaged or even destroyed, regenerative periodontal surgery is proposed.
Once the periodontal disease is treated, if the space does not close naturally, orthodontic treatment is necessary.
When the lip brake is oversized or incorrectly positioned
A malformed (overdeveloped) or poorly positioned labial frenulum can be the cause of the diastema. In this case, a small non-intrusive surgical procedure can reduce the space between the incisors.
This procedure is often performed with a laser, without pain and therefore without anesthesia.
Depending on the case, the orthodontist may propose other solutions such as
- The placement of crowns on the upper incisors,
- The installation of dental veneers,
- Dental bonding with composite.
However, these solutions have their drawbacks. The placement of a crown involves grinding, which is not indicated on healthy teeth.
Dental bonding is less durable than other solutions.
Is it possible to close a diastema in children?
Diastema is common in children. As for adults, it is possible to correct the gap but it is not always necessary depending on the case and the age.
Diastema on baby's milk teeth
Because baby teeth are inherently smaller than permanent teeth, it is normal for small children to have a gap in their teeth.
On the other hand, too much space between the incisors sometimes does not leave enough room for the other teeth to grow.
While in many cases the gap will close without intervention, the advice of a dentist is still necessary.
Diastema on the permanent teeth of the child
If the diastema does not disappear when the permanent teeth grow in, the dentist will know when treatment is recommended.
If your child has a diastema, a pedodontist will also be able to tell you the most appropriate solution between :
- A removable appliance such as a plate that helps tighten teeth,
- A fixed device (braces) attached to the front teeth,
- A non-intrusive surgical procedure.
The correction of dental diastema is therefore possible and different solutions exist. Do not try "home-made solutions" seen on the internet because they often have disastrous consequences on the development of the teeth. Only a dentist is able to diagnose the causes of a diastema and to propose the most appropriate treatment.