LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – Diastema is a condition referring to an open space between teeth, most often the upper central incisors, which Dr. David Alpan, Las Vegas dentist, can fix at his practice Aesthetic Orthodontics.
Many well-known people – actors, actresses, political figures, athletes and musicians – have diastema and opted not to change it, such as Condoleezza Rice, Elton John, Madonna, David Letterman and Michael “Flea” Balzary.
“Other celebrities decided to have the gap between their teeth closed,” says Dr. Alpan. The American actor Zac Efron and the Australian country music star Keith Urban have both had dental work done to close the gap between their teeth.
This condition can be hereditary, where the relationship between the size of the teeth and the jaw is not equal. An oversized labial frenum, the band of tissue connecting the lip to the upper gum, may also cause or exacerbate the condition. Injury and oral habits like tongue thrusting can also contribute to diastema, according to Dr. Alpan, an orthodontist with practices in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas.
While some people are not bothered by their diastema or might feel that it is integral to their aesthetic or personality, some people find it unappealing and wish to change the condition. Dr. Alpan can do this by closing the gap, filling in the space or covering the gap.
Types Of Treatment For Diastema
A consultation with our orthodontist will let patients know what types of orthodontics can close the gap between their teeth, whether they are a child, teenager or adult. Braces, Invisalign or Invisalign Teen straighten the teeth and move them together into the desired position. Treatment takes an average of two years, depending on the case. This is the least invasive option to otherwise healthy teeth. This does require the patient to wear a retainer to prevent the teeth from moving back to their original position.
A Las Vegas dentist can refer a patient or they can schedule a complimentary consultation with an orthodontist to see about closing the diastema with porcelain veneers. Veneers are wafer-thin pieces of porcelain bonded to the outside of the tooth that change a tooth’s size, shape and color. They usually require that the tooth be shaved or carved down on the outside or in-between surfaces of your teeth.
The most extreme method of changing a diastema is a conventional crown and bridge or a dental implant. A traditional crown requires shaping the tooth to an even larger extent than veneers, and cementing a dental crown over the existing tooth. A dental implant consists of a screw placed into the jaw that functions as the tooth’s root and the crown that snaps onto the post. These procedures change the way the tooth appears in location and size.
Oversized Labial Frenulum
If a patient has an oversized labial frenulum, we will refer him or her to a periodontist for an oral consultation to determine whether a frenectomy is needed. A frenectomy is a simple, surgical procedure where the periodontist repositions the frenulum. This procedure often allows the diastema to correct itself in children, but teenagers and adults will probably still need some type of braces.
“Any orthodontist can straighten teeth. We want to provide more than that to our patients,” says Dr. Alpan. “Our goal is for a patient to leave our office completely confident about their smile, besides having their teeth and jaw working in harmony with one another.”