Question: Hi Dr.Glasmeier,


My son is 9 years old and has a big space between his front teeth and it seems bigger than his siblings' spaces. I want to know if this will resolve on his own or he is going to need dental work to correct this space?


Answer: Spacing between the two front teeth (known as a "diastema") is a very common finding not only in children but adults as well. Children who have baby teeth with type of spacing is actually a good situation however if this occurs with the eruption of the permanent teeth, this is quite different.


There are many different factors that can contribute to abnormal spacing between the two front teeth. The one I most commonly see is what is called a "low frenum attachment". The frenum is the soft tissue that attaches the inside of your lip to the gums above or below your teeth. Normally the frenum attaches high up above the tooth but it can also much lower on the gums between the teeth. When the gum attaches between the teeth, it can result in a diastema(space between the teeth).


When this occurs, typically two things must happen to close the space:

1. Patient needs to be evaluated to determine whether or not

orthodontics(braces) will be necessary to close the space or if they can be

closed by other means (e.g. veneers).

2. Patient will likely require a frenulectomy, where the soft tissue attachment

between the teeth is removed or reduced. There are multiple ways this is

accomplished but the most common is with a laser. With a little local

anesthesia and a laser, this procedure can be accomplished in several

minutes pain free and with little, if any postop pain. Most children have no

pain or discomfort the next day!


So back to your question, yes it can be treated but he needs to be evaluated the best way to accomplish this. Consult your dentist for the course of treatment necessary!


Best of luck!


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