What is a diastema?

A diastema is a gap or space between two teeth. It is also referred to as a gap tooth or gapped tooth. They usually occur between two top teeth but they can occur elsewhere. Sometimes the space or gap is slight and in some cases, the gap or space may be very wide. If the spacing occurs while adult teeth are coming in, that is normal and to be expected. If the gaps are present after all the permanent teeth have came in, they are expected to remain unchanged. You may have noticed celebrities such as Madonna and Anna Paquin, who have a diastema.

What is the cause of a diastema?

When the jaw bone size and size of the teeth do not match properly, crowding may occur or extra space is created between teeth. Large teeth in a smaller jaw results in crowding and small teeth in a large jaw, results in diastemas.

Other reasons that extra space may develop between teeth are due to certain teeth that develop narrower than usual. These teeth are the teeth located on either side of the two top middle teeth.

Being born without certain teeth will also cause extra space in the mouth.

An oversized labial frenum, which is the tissue that is located in the middle of your upper lip and between the two middle top teeth, may prevent those two middle top teeth from coming together and closing.


Habits like thumb sucking can also create gaps, thumb sucking pulls the front teeth outward, which creates gaps.


In some cases, when the spacing is slight, a cosmetic dental procedure known as dental bonding may be used to close the gap. Other cosmetic dental treatment that may be used are porcelain dental veneers or dental crowns.

In cases where a lot of additional space exists between teeth, traditional orthodontics may be used or Invisalign treatment may be used.

When the labial frenum is the cause of the diastema, a simple procedure called a frenectomy may be used to reduce the size of the labial frenum.

If you have a space that you would like closed, contact us for a free consultation. We would be happy to explain all of the available options that are right, just for you.

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