Diastema refers to a gap between your teeth. Gaps can occur anywhere in your mouth, but they’re most common between your two front teeth. This condition is usually a cosmetic concern, but sometimes, it’s related to gum disease. Diastema treatments include dental bonding, porcelain veneers and braces.
Diastema is the clinical term for a gap between teeth. While gaps can develop anywhere in your mouth, diastema is most common between your two front teeth (midline diastema).
Gaps between your teeth may be small or large. Diastema usually doesn’t have a negative impact on your oral health. However, in some cases, it could be a symptom of gum disease.
Diastema affects both children and adults. The condition is more common in children, and gaps between their teeth may close once their permanent (adult) teeth come in.
Midline diastema (when there’s a gap between the two upper front teeth) is more common among certain populations. For example, people who are Black are more likely to have diastema compared to people who are white people or of Asian descent.
Yes. Diastema is a common occurrence, and most healthcare providers view it as a variation of normal dental development.
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There’s only one sign of diastema: A gap between your teeth. If your teeth and gums are healthy, there usually aren’t any other symptoms.
If gum disease caused a gap between your teeth, you may notice pain, redness, swelling or other gum disease symptoms.
Many people are genetically prone to diastema. That’s why the condition sometimes runs in families. This may be caused by:
In some cases, diastema may develop because of an abnormal swallowing reflex. For example, your tongue should press against the roof of your mouth when you swallow. However, if you press your tongue against your front teeth instead, the repetitive pressure can cause a gap to form over time.
For some people, gaps between their teeth form as a result of advanced gum disease. With this condition, infection erodes your jawbone, causing gaps and loose teeth.
Your dentist can diagnose diastema during a routine dental exam. No further testing is required.
There are several ways to fix diastema. Treatment depends on whether the condition is due to gum disease or if it’s only a cosmetic issue.
If your teeth are healthy and you simply wish to close the gap between your teeth, there are several cosmetic dental treatments available, including:
If diastema is the result of gum disease, then you’ll need periodontal treatment first to get rid of harmful bacteria. Once the infection is under control, you can choose to address the gap between your teeth with one of the cosmetic treatments listed above.
Common gum treatments include:
There’s no way to prevent diastema when it’s caused by genetics. It’s simply a characteristic that your parents or grandparents passed down to you.
However, you can reduce your risk of infection-related diastema by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and exams. If you notice redness, swelling, bleeding or other signs of gum disease, schedule a visit with your dentist right away.
Unless diastema is caused by infection, it’s nothing to worry about. It doesn’t have a negative impact on your oral health. In fact, many people embraced the gap between their teeth as a unique characteristic of beauty.
If you prefer to close the gap between your teeth, there are plenty of treatment options available to help you reach your cosmetic goals.
In a healthy mouth, diastema shouldn’t increase with age. If you notice the gap between your teeth is getting wider, call your dentist, as it could be due to gum disease.
If you’re bothered by the gap between your teeth, schedule a consultation with your dentist. They can discuss your treatment options with you in detail.
In general, be sure to see your dentist at least every six months for regular dental exams and cleanings.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
In most cases, diastema is nothing to worry about. It doesn’t affect your oral health or function. In fact, a gap between your teeth is considered a mark of beauty by many cultures around the world. But if you decide you’d rather close the gap, cosmetic dental treatments can help you achieve the healthy, gorgeous and long-lasting smile you desire.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/15/2022.
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