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Diastema basically is gap between two teeth. Many celebrities and well known people have diastema and these people are – Condoleezza Rice, Songstress Madonna, Swedish Politician Jan Björklund, actor Terry-Thomas, Singer Elton Jon, model Lauren Hutton and many more.

This FAQ gives details about diastema including treatment.

What is Diastema?

The space or gap between two teeth is known as diastema. In most of the cases, this gap appears between the two upper front teeth; however, it can also appear between any two teeth. This occurs mainly because there is an unequal relationship between the size of the teeth and the jaw. If the size of the jaw bones and the size of the teeth have a mismatch it will either result in extra space or crowding between the teeth. Space between teeth occurs if the teeth are too small for the jaw bone; on the other hand if the teeth are bigger than the jaw it might cause crowding of teeth.

You will find diastema occurs mostly in children. Ninety seven percent of children of age about 5 years are estimated to be having diastema whereas fifty percent of kids in the age group of 6 to 8 years are affected by this. Diastema affects speech and facial balance; it also causes aesthetic concerns. The spaces between the teeth remain throughout lifetime if they exist after the adult teeth are in place.

What are the symptoms of Diastema?

No other visible symptoms are seen because of diastema except that of seeing the gap in the teeth.

How do you diagnose the existence of Diastema?

At the time of brushing or flossing you can easily notice the space between your teeth.

What are the causes for Diastema?

1.Missing teeth or undersized teeth – this normally happens with the upper lateral incisors that are teeth next to the two upper front teeth.
2.Oversized labial fraenum – the labial fraenum is the piece of tissue that normally extends from the inside of your upper lip to the gum just above your two upper front teeth. In certain situations, the labial fraenum continues to grow and passes between the two front teeth. Under such circumstances the diastema occurs.
3.Falling of baby teeth – whenever the baby teeth fall the children will have temporary gaps; however these gaps mostly close when the permanent teeth reach their final positions.
How does diastema occur in children?
1.Diastema is a natural part of development of your teeth. When the kid attains the age 8, its lateral incisors that are yet to develop start developing and push against the roots of the erupted incisors. If the central incisors are pushed, spaces start appearing between them.
2.If the lateral incisor teeth of the child are small the small teeth will permit the central incisors to separate thereby creating a space or diastema.
3.An overbite might cause the upper teeth to project instead of remaining straight; when the teeth project out instead of pushing against each other diastema occurs.
4.If the tongue of the child is large it will push the incisors forward thereby making the teeth to project and this will result in diastema.
5.The jaw of the child becomes too large due to a hormonal imbalance in the endocrine gland and if the teeth are normal size there will be spaces formed.
6.If the teeth angle too much to the side it causes excessive distal crown angulations that create a small diastema between the central front incisors.
7.Certain habits such as biting your lower lip or having flaccid lips might cause the upper tooth to project thereby resulting in diastema. If you hold the tongue improperly or force your tongue forward between the teeth it will affect the position of the incisors adversely.
If you or your child has space between the teeth you must consult an orthodontist. However treatment for the child may not start before the child is 7 years old.

Can Diastema occur in Adults?

It is possible that diastema occurs in adults also; normally the spaces occur between the central incisors. Maxillary spaces normally occur between the incisors because of the movement caused by the loss of alveolar bone and this is a periodontal condition. If the incisors are abnormally small it might also cause adult diastema.

How do you treat Diastema?

If you have diastema you can take any of the following options:

1.Leave it as it is – diastema is not harmful and needs no treatment unless you look at as an image problem. Many celebrities have left it as it is without treating them may be because they look at it as their trademark and see it as their personality while smiling.
2.Orthodontic Treatment – If diastema is a subset of other associated problems or you think that it hurts your appearance you should go it requires orthodontic treatment. In order to close the gap the orthodontist might put braces which move the teeth together. Irrespective of the location of the diastema it is necessary for you to wear complete set of braces – on your upper and lower set of teeth. This is necessary because moving any teeth will affect all the teeth in your mouth.
3.Dental Veneers – You could opt for porcelain veneers.

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Dental veneers are thin porcelain pieces that are attached to the outside of your tooth using a bonding material. In most of the cases this is more than enough.
4.Dental Implants, Crown and Bridge – If the gap occurs because of your lateral incisors being small, your dentist might widen them using crowns, bonding or veneers. If the space is due to missing teeth you might be provided with dental implants, dental bridges or partial denture.

If the gap is caused by a large labial fraenum, it is possible to reduce the fraenum by performing a surgery called fraenectomy. Performing fraenectomy on a young child will close this space automatically; on the other hand if this is performed on an older child or an adult it is necessary to use braces to close this gap.

How do you prevent Diastema?

It is not possible to prevent the gaps between all teeth. You can reduce the possibility of occurrence of diastema by taking good care of the primary teeth i.e. baby’s teeth. The baby teeth hold the position for the permanent teeth; if the baby teeth fall too early the adult teeth might not enter in the correct locations.