Closing the Gap

Did you know a gap between teeth is called a diastema? What’s more, they are common among many orthodontic patients and can be found between any teeth in the mouth. Diastemas can also be found in both children and adults and there are a variety of reasons why they may develop. Dr. Razdolsky sees new patients everyday with some form of diastema which can have several causes. The most recognized diastema, however, is between the two upper front teeth where it can cause a visible gap. The good news is it does have a straightforward treatment.

“Patients can develop diastema due to any number of factors - from bad habits such as thumb sucking, mismatched teeth and jaw size or malocclusion, or even involuntary issues such as incorrect swallowing reflexes otherwise known as tongue thrust,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Early observation of patients as young as seven can help us to determine if diastema is present and its root cause, so we can develop a treatment protocol to coincide with orthodontics to close the gap.”

As mentioned, a common diagnosed diastema is caused by an oversized labial frenum - a piece of tissue that extends from the inside of the upper and lower lip to the gum between the upper and lower front teeth. Besides just causing a gap, this extended tissue left untreated can also cause a host of other oral health issues such as receding gums, mouth breathing and even snoring.

“Because diastema affects the entire mouth health and structure, a thorough examination in preparation of treatment is required to determine if there is any sign of gum disease,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “If so, periodontal treatment may be needed concurrently with orthodontic treatment to restore gum health before any orthodontic treatment can begin. If your diastema is due to an oversized labial frenum, your treatment may also include a frenectomy to help the gap close,” he added.

A frenectomy is a simple procedure performed by an oral surgeon, many times requiring laser treatment preferably. It just takes a few minutes, and kind of like a pizza burn, only causes minimal pain and perhaps a little discomfort for the few days following. Upon completion of these multi-disciplinary therapies, Dr. Razdolsky can perform orthodontic treatment for proper alignment to close the gap and get you on the road to your beautiful Forever Smile.