What Is Diastema? Gap Between The Teeth Explained

August 18, 2022

Diastema is a gap that is wider than 0.5 millimeters between the teeth and appears in adults and children. The opening is not harmful to children; the hole usually closes when their permanent teeth come through.

Diastema can develop in between teeth and can vary in size, with some being barely noticeable; however, when it is between the upper front teeth, it can make someone feel socially and emotionally self-conscious.

Although there is no medical reason to treat diastema, those individuals who do not like the appearance of their diastema may seek treatment to narrow or close the gap. This article will discuss the causes, treatments, and prevention of diastemas.

Causes Of Diastema

1. Teeth Size in Relation to the Jawbone

When someone’s teeth are too small in relation to the size of their jawbone, they may develop gaps between the teeth. Tooth sizes and jawbones may be genetic, and this is one of the reasons why diastema can run in families.

2. Undersized or Missing Teeth

Diastema may develop when some teeth are missing or smaller than others. Diastema commonly involves the upper lateral incisors, which are the teeth on either side of the two upper front teeth. When the upper lateral incisors are missing or are relatively small, a gap can develop between the two front teeth.

3. Oversized Labial Frenum

A labial frenum is when tissue extends from the inside of the upper lip to the gum above the front teeth. When the tissue is substantial, it can cause a gap between these teeth.

4. Incorrect Swallowing Reflex

When your swallowing reflex is happening correctly, the tongue will press against the roof of your mouth.

However, when a person swallowing reflex is incorrect, they will push their tongue against their front teeth instead when they swallow. Over time this repetitive pressure against the front teeth will move them forward, causing a gap to form.

5. Gum Disease

Migrating teeth is a common sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease causes inflammation, damaging the bone that supports the teeth, and eventually, the teeth will become looser, and gaps can appear.

6. Habits

Everyday habits such as tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, lips sucking, and other similar practices can put pressure on the front teeth, which results in being pushed forward, leading to diastema.

7. Losing Primary Teeth

Children may develop temporary diastema when their primary or baby teeth fall out. Usually, when their permanent teeth come in, these gaps will close. Diastema is generally considered a normal part of development in children, and typically no treatment is necessary.

Symptoms of Diastema

The only indication of diamstema is when a patient has a visible gap between the teeth.


Diagnosing diamstema Is straightforward and occurs when your dentist spots the gap while examining your teeth.

Treatments For Diastema

Treatment for diastema is not usually necessary medically; however, if the patient wishes to close the gap for aesthetic purposes, a dentist can help determine the best treatment option.

1. Braces

Dentists will commonly treat diastema with braces. Traditional adolescent or adult braces have wires and brackets, which puts pressure on the teeth closing the gap over time. If you don’t want to wear metal braces, consider a clear aligned alternative like Invisalign.

2. Invisalign

Invisalign may be a great alternative for treating some patients with diastemas. Invisalign is a clear removable alignment that offers a non invasive, quick, and safe solution.

3. Veneers or Bonding

An alternative to braces are cosmetic procedures such as veneers or dental bonding which may be suitable if the diastema results from having smaller teeth.

The process of dental bonding involves applying resin to the surface of the teeth then hardening the resin with a light source.

The process of fitting veneers involves securing thin custom-made pieces of porcelain to the surface of the teeth.

4. Dental Bridge or Implants

If the diastema occurred because the patient is missing a tooth they may need more significant dental work such as a dental bridge or implants. 

When a dentist places dental implants, it involves inserting metal screws into the patient’s jawbone and attaching the replacement teeth. 

When you have a dental bridge, a false tooth is held in place by a device attached to the teeth on either side of the gap.

5. Surgery

For a diastema resulting from having an oversized label frenum, the dentist may recommend a frenectomy, which is a procedure to remove the excess tissue. Adults and older children may also require braces or further treatment to close the gap. However, in younger children, the space may completely close on its own as their adult teeth develop.

For Advanced Restorative And Cosmetic Dental Care, See The Experts At Carrie Muzny DDS

The team at Carrie Muzny DDS is highly trained with extensive experience and offers a unique skill set to ensure the highest quality treatment for our patients. We offer everything from preventative care for children to handling complex dental procedures. Contact us today to book an appointment and get the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.

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