What is Diastema ?

The simplest definition of a diastema is a gap between teeth. The precise terms for a diastema depend on its location.

  • Mandibular diastemas are gaps in the lower teeth.
  • Midline or median diastemas are a gap between the two front teeth.

Midline diastemas are quite common among young children. It is estimated that 98% of 6-year-olds have midline diastemas in their baby teeth. However, this number decreases to 49% by the ages of 10 and 11 when permanent teeth erupt. Among adolescents, only 7% of teens between the ages of 12 and 18 have midline diastemas.

For this reason, most orthodontists do not recommend kid braces to correct diastemas in young children since the gap may correct itself naturally as children grow. However, because other orthodontic issues (such as a crossbite or crowded bottom teeth) may be present, a visit to a children orthodontist is recommended by the age of 7.


The only indication of a diastema is a visible gap between teeth.

If the teeth become loose because of gum disease, the person may experience pain and discomfort, especially while eating.

Other symptoms of gum disease include:

  • bright red gums
  • swollen, tender gums
  • bleeding gums
  • receding gums
  • bad breath
  • loose teeth


Treatment for a diastema may not be necessary — especially if the gap arises from a mismatch between the size of the teeth and the jawbone, or if it results from the loss of primary teeth.

If treatment is not medically necessary, but the person wishes to close the gap for aesthetic reasons, a dentist can help determine the best approach.

Treatment options include:


Dentists commonlyTrusted Source treat diastemas with braces. The braces put pressure on the teeth, closing the gap over time.

It may be necessary to wear a full set of braces, even if there is just one gap, because moving any teeth affects the entire mouth.

Veneers or bonding

As an alternative to braces, a dentist can fit veneers or perform dental bonding.

These options may be especially suitable if the diastema results from having smaller teeth.

Dental bonding involves applying resin to the surface of the teeth, then hardening the resin with a light source.

Fitting veneers involves securing thin, custom-made pieces of porcelain to the surface of the teeth.

Dental implants or a bridge

If a diastema exists because the person is missing teeth, they may need more extensive dental work, such as implants or a dental bridge.

Placing dental implants involves inserting metal screws into the jawbone and attaching the replacement teeth.

A dental bridge is a false tooth held in place by a device that attaches to the teeth on either side of the gap.


The outlook varies, depending on the underlying cause. However, treatment can eliminate or reduce most diastemas.

The gap will typically remain closed after treatment, unless the individual returns to habits such as thumb sucking or does not follow their dentist’s instructions.