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Diastema (Tooth Gap): What It Is and How to Treat It

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Do you have diastema? You’ll know after reading this.

We’re also going to discuss what could cause you to have diastema and how you can fix it.

What is Diastema?

Technically-speaking, diastema (plural: diastemata) is a space between teeth. It’s normally found between the front teeth and the molars in mammals such as horses, mice, and rabbits.

Your pet dog also has a few healthy gaps between his teeth.

Humans, however, aren’t supposed to have large gaps between their teeth. When someone does have diastema, it’s often between their upper front teeth. Having diastema in such a noticeable area can be embarrassing for some people since a gapped-tooth look is sometimes negatively associated with things like low intelligence and comedic cartoon characters.

Have you ever felt that your smile resembles that of Goofy or Spongebob?

diastema what is it

If so, then you probably know the pain that is diastema. Not only can diastema make you feel like you look, well, goofy, but it could also impact the way you eat and speak.

Do you have a hard time biting into whole apples? Snack on chips from the side of your mouth? Have to take the time to cut up your sandwiches and pizza slices into chewable bits? Lisp when you pronounce words with ‘s?’

It can be tough. Having a large diastema can also make you look and feel like a little kid who’s missing a couple of front teeth.

But having diastema isn’t always a bad thing. As long as it’s not related to some kind of disease or oral health problem, a diastema is perfectly harmless. In some cultures, diastema is even regarded as a kind of beauty mark.

There are also plenty of people with diastema who like how their gapped-tooth look adds some charm to their personality. They can rock the gap-tooth appearance with confidence.

For example, check out this list of some famous people you may know who all have diastema.

Chances are, those famous smiles just wouldn’t be the same without those iconic gaps.

Speaking of gaps, how does diastema form between teeth, anyway?

Causes of Diastema

Diastema can happen when there’s a discrepancy between jaw size and tooth size. If the teeth are small and there’s lots of room in the mouth, they can develop wide gaps between them. You can see this demonstrated in most kids’ smiles; it’s natural for children to have large gaps in their mouths as the baby teeth fall out and the adult teeth come in. They outgrow the gapped-tooth look as their smiles fully develop.

diastema lip tight

Diastema can also happen when the lip is attached too tightly to the gums around the front teeth. The connective tissue that joins the lips and gums can pull too tightly on the gums between teeth and this tension can force teeth apart. Since diastema is often determined naturally by genetics, some ethnicities have a higher incidence of diastema than others.

diastema causes

In some cases, diastema is caused by a habit like thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting that puts pressure on the front teeth and pushes them apart. Diastema may also be a symptom of pathology since severe gum disease can cause teeth to drift apart.

Whatever the cause may be, if you have diastema, you’re probably reading this right now because you want to know how to fix this kind of tooth gap.

Diastema Treatment: How To Fix Diastema

Do you have a tooth gap that makes you want to hide your smile behind your hand?

'The good news is that diastema is pretty easy to fix.'

Getting traditional metal braces is the most straight-forward way to close up a tooth gap. But if you choose to get full braces, you might have to wear them for many months before you see a difference in your smile.

Your best option may be to close up the gap by wearing a set of clear teeth aligners. We recommend the aligners made by Candid Co. You can choose to either visit a Candid Studio or order an at-home impression kit to find out if the aligners are a good option to close your diastema.

Teeth Aligners are a great alternative to braces since they can close gaps much faster than braces. Plus, the clear plastic trays look and feel better than metal brackets and wires.

As an added bonus, aligners are removable; this makes it easy to brush and floss your teeth and allows you to eat whatever you want during your treatment.

Orthodontic treatment isn’t the only way to fix diastema, however. Some cases need only a little dental bonding to close up the gap. Occasionally, a dentist will recommend combining braces with restorations like dental crowns to achieve the desired result.

'Which kind of treatment will you need to fix diastema?'

It depends on how severe your case is and on what caused your diastema. But a set of clear aligners are the perfect cost-effective solution for a mild diastema, but you may need more in-depth treatment if the clear aligners company informs you that your teeth don’t qualify.

(If you don’t qualify for the clear aligners treatment, the brand will refund you the cost of the at-home impression kit.)

In addition to fixing the diastema itself, you may also need treatment to fix what caused it if there’s more involved than just tooth alignment. For example, if the tissue that attaches your lip to your gums is located too close to your teeth, it could be pulling on your gums and forcing your teeth apart. Your dentist will have to surgically clip that tissue to relieve the tension on your gums.

If an oral habit like pushing your tongue against your front teeth caused them to drift apart, then your dentist will recommend some therapies to help you quit the habit. Otherwise, your teeth might end up with a gap again even after you straighten them.

Diastema Treatment Cost

The total price of fixing diastema depends on the kinds of treatments you need.

If your case is purely cosmetic and can be fixed with a course of clear aligners, then repairing diastema may cost you as little as $99 per month with Candid Co.

Treatment with clear aligners costs (on average) about $1,800 for a one-time payment. That’s much less than a full set of braces that can cost $5,000 or more.

Some other solutions that could be included in treatment for diastema include:

These prices are only estimates; your actual total treatment cost will depend on where you seek treatment and what kind of experience your dentist has in treating diastema.

Braces to Fix Diastema—How Long?

When you get a full set of braces to fix diastema, you might have to wait many long months to get results. Most adults who get braces wear them for an average of two years.

This is because braces adjust the alignment and spacing of every tooth in your mouth. You usually can’t fix the gap between two teeth without affecting the others. It takes time to make sure that all the teeth in your mouth are in healthy alignment.

Clear aligners, on the other hand, focus on making small adjustments right where they’re needed. The average amount of time people spend in clear aligners is just six months.

So as long as you have diastema that will respond well to clear aligners, they could fix your smile in six months or less.

Can You Fix Diastema Without Braces?


Again, this depends on the cause of your diastema and on how severe it is, but it’s very possible to correct it without having to get metal braces.

A wide diastema probably shouldn’t be treated without moving your teeth. Crowns, veneers, and bonding can only go so far in bridging the gap. To create a natural-looking and strong bite, your teeth themselves will have to move.

diastema braces
can you fix diastema without braces

Instead of braces, however, you could opt for wearing clear aligners. If you still have noticeable spaces after straightening your teeth, then you could follow up your alignment therapy with a cosmetic restoration such as dental bonding or veneers.

Life with a diastema can be painful and embarrassing if you hate the way your teeth look. You don’t have to suffer with a gap-toothed look forever, though.

It takes just minutes to apply for clear aligners through the best teeth aligners brands (we recommend you checking our review of the top 6 home teeth aligners). Once you’re approved, you’re just months away from that perfect smile you’ve always wanted! Say good-bye to diastema, for good!

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