Why Do Diastemas Happen?


diastemaChildren go through a lot of changes as they’re growing up – and this definitely includes changes to their teeth. That’s why it’s so important that parents are aware of some of the dental conditions that their child might face as they grow. In this article, we’ll introduce one of the most common dental conditions for small children.


You may have heard the term diastema before from your dentist, but do you know what it means? Today we’re going to explain this common dental condition, as well as what causes it and how it’s treated.

Let’s start with some basics first, however.

What Is A Diastema?

Simply put, a diastema is a gap between two of your teeth. This gap is most often noticed when it occurs in between the top front teeth.

What Causes A Diastema?

There isn’t necessarily a single cause for all tooth gaps – it’s more like a couple. Below are some of the most common reasons why someone might develop a diastema.

Normal Growth 

In some cases, a diastema may be perfectly normal and simply the result of your child’s natural growth. For example, children that have just had a baby tooth fall out might have a temporary gap until their adult teeth come in. Do keep in mind, however, that you should always get a professional opinion regarding any dental concerns. Your pediatric dentist will be able to do a thorough check-up of your child’s teeth and provide you with some guidance regarding whether or not a gap is something to worry about.

Small Teeth

Since our jaws and teeth come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, this can sometimes affect our dental health. In the case that someone’s teeth are simply too small for their jawbone, the teeth may grow in with a gap somewhere.

Oversized Labial Frenum

The labial frenum is the tissue that runs between your lip and gums, connecting these two parts of your mouth. Occasionally, however, this bit of tissue can overgrow, causing it to wedge between your front two teeth. In this case, the wedging could slowly begin pushing the two front teeth apart, resulting in a gap.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a very serious dental condition that can result in gaps or even loss of teeth. Some common symptoms of gum disease are swelling, redness, bleeding, or tenderness in the area. Please consult with a dentist as soon as possible if you begin noticing symptoms of gum disease in your or your child’s mouth.

In terms of prevention, good oral health habits are vital for keeping your gums healthy and in tip-top shape.

Obstructions In Your Mouth

Overgrown tissue or extra teeth can pose a very straightforward problem – i.e., your teeth being physically unable to grow in the way they should. With regular check-ups,  your pediatric dentist should be able to identify obstructions before they become a  problem.

Bad Habits

Although you may not think that the way you hold your tongue or swallow has much of an effect on your dental health, it’s actually quite the opposite. For example, many small children develop a habit of pushing their tongue against their front teeth while swallowing. This repeated motion can eventually cause a small gap to form between your teeth.

How To Fix Gap Teeth

There are a few good ways to fix gaps in teeth. Here’s a short list of the most common ones.

Treating Underlying Causes

In the case that a diastema has occurred due to an underlying condition such as gum disease, the infection must first be treated. If the gap is due to an overgrown labial frenum, your dentist might recommend removing some of the excess tissue.




Since braces are generally used to position and realign teeth, they are frequently used for this problem. A dentist or orthodontist can place braces so that they gently push your teeth together into the correct position over time.

These days, there are more aesthetically appealing options for braces as well. For example, Invisalign aligners have become an extremely popular option for adults. Not only do they achieve a similar outcome as traditional metal braces, but they are a lot less visible. For this reason, young adults and office workers often prefer this route to fix dental issues such as gaps.

If Invisalign treatments aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, there are other options as well. For example, ceramic and lingual braces are also great options for a less visible brace.

As for a more affordable option, however, metal braces are still considered a perfectly good option, especially for children.

Dental Bonding

In the case of a small gap, dental bonding is an option for a quick fix for the aesthetic aspect of a tooth gap. Because it is significantly more affordable, dental bonding may be chosen as a more economical alternative. Unlike braces, however, dental bonding is purely for aesthetic purposes and does not physically move teeth. Furthermore, treatments such as this may not be recommended for very large gaps in teeth.


Similar to dental bonding, veneers are also meant to blend in with your natural teeth and create the illusion of perfect teeth. Unlike dental bonding, veneers are made to be more durable and can last for many decades.


Similar to veneers and dental bonding, crowns are also used to address the aesthetic problems of a tooth gap.

We know that this sounds like a lot of information; don’t worry. Your dentist can help walk you through all of the options. Simply ask them what the best option for you or your child is.

How To Close A Gap In Your Teeth At Home

If you notice that you or your child has developed a large gap between two teeth, do make sure to consult with a dentist. Most of the time, your dentist will be able to recommend a treatment plan. If the gap is normal for your child’s age and is simply due to the loss of a baby tooth, the recommendation may simply be to wait. 

Regardless, however, you do need to have the issue checked out by a dentist. At-home dental treatments are not only ineffective, but they can also be extremely dangerous.

The best way to take care of your teeth at home is to follow good oral health habits. Daily brushing and flossing goes a long way toward preventing cavities and gum disease. Even eating habits can be modified to serve your teeth better. For example, consuming less sugar and brushing your teeth right after eating are great ways to protect yourself against harmful bacteria.

In addition to that, you still need a professional to perform cleanings and check-ups for you and your child. Visiting your dentist every six months reduces the risk of a major dental problem going unnoticed.


Pediatric Dentist Near Me

pediatric dentist

Have you noticed a gap in your child’s teeth? If so, don’t wait – bring them in for a check-up with a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The earlier your dentist can take a look at the issue, the better.


Here at Snodgrass-King Dental, we’re happy to offer a team of experienced dentists that can take care of your child. Not only can we perform a cleaning and evaluate the issue, but we will also do everything in our power to ensure that your child is as comfortable as possible.


The best part? We actually offer dental services for children AND adults. This means that we can become the go-to place for all your dental needs. Snodgrass-King Dental offers services such as sealants, crowns, cleanings, teeth whitening, extractions, fillings, and much more.


Call or fill out our online form today to book your first appointment. Snodgrass-King Dental has offices all throughout the Tennessee area. Whether you live in Nashville, Cool Springs, Franklin, or Mt. Juliet, we have an office near you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any questions whatsoever. We’ll be more than happy to help.