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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

If you are a senior considering dental implants, you may have to worry about issues other dental patients don't have to think about. For example, you may need more time to recover after receiving your implants. My name is Jodi, and I've been working with seniors for years. I decided to create this blog to help the seniors I can't meet in person. In this space, I'm going to post entries on everything related to dental implants and seniors. From tips on flossing implants after arthritis has claimed some of your dexterity, to guiding you through the implants-vs-dentures debate, this blog is designed for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you find what you need!



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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

Closing the Gap: How a Dentist Can Treat Diastema

by Jimmy Carter

Many Australians suffer from diastema. Diastema is the medical term for a space between two teeth. These spaces provide the ideal location for food debris and plaque to collect. Once trapped between your teeth, the plaque and debris can cause tooth decay. As well as causing dental damage, diastema can also harm your self-esteem. If you are self-conscious about your teeth, you may avoid smiling in public. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about diastema.

The Causes of Diastema

When you visit a dentist, they will assess your teeth to determine the cause of the diastema. They do so because the cause of the diastema may impact which treatment they use to address the problem.

Diastema can be caused by:  

  • Undersized teeth: If teeth have not grown to the correct size, this can create gaps.
  • Missing teeth: A missing tooth can create space into which other teeth may move.
  • Oversized labial frenum: This is the soft tissue which connects your lips to your gums and if it is oversized, it may force teeth apart.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease can weaken the jaw bone and cause teeth to become mobile.
  • Thumb sucking: If you suck your thumb, or did for a long time previously, the pressure placed on the teeth may cause them to move.

The Treatment Options for Diastema

If your dentist detects signs of gum disease, they will treat this before carrying out any other dental interventions. If the diastema is mild, a dentist may recommend that you have porcelain veneers placed over the teeth to close the gap and improve your smile.

In the majority of cases, a dentist will recommend that a patient with diastema is fitted with a full set of braces on the lower and the upper teeth. Depending on the severity of the condition, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist who specialises in the fitting of braces and other orthodontic appliances.

If treatment with braces does not prove effective, your dentist may recommend you undergo dental surgery to correct the problem teeth. The procedure most widely used in called a frenectomy. During a frenectomy, a dental surgeon will remove part of the labial frenum to reduce it in size. A post-op brace will then be used to correct the positioning of your teeth.

If you have gaps between your teeth and you are unhappy with how your smile looks, you should contact your dentist today. They will be able to examine your teeth and recommend the best course of treatment for you.