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Gap in teeth

A gap between two teeth also called a diastema, is common in children and generally not something to worry about because the spaces disappear as the permanent teeth erupt.

Diastema is more noticeable when the gap is between two front teeth, but the gap can be anywhere in your mouth. A gap in the lower teeth is known as the mandibular diastema, but a gap between the front teeth is a median or midline diastema.

Reports show that about 1.6% to 25.4% of people have diastema. Gaps in baby teeth are normal because the jaw is still growing and their teeth are developing. The gapped teeth will naturally close as a child grows and loses the milk teeth for adult teeth.

If you have one or several gaps between your teeth after all your adult teeth come through, treatment for malocclusion may be necessary to close the diastema. Different treatment options, such as aligners, braces and other dental procedures, are available. If you have space between your teeth, taking extra care of your oral health is important. Interdental brushes or a water flosser will make cleaning the gaps between your teeth easier.

What can cause a gap in the teeth?

A few different factors can cause diastema, but the main factor is a significant difference in jaw and teeth size. If your jaws are too big or you have small teeth, they won't align properly.

Extra tissues growing above the teeth can also cause gaps in the front teeth. The small skin between the top front teeth and the lip is known as the frenum, and this tissue can overgrow. If this overgrowth occurs, it can force a space between the two front teeth.

Other factors that can cause a diastema are behavioural. They include:

Thumb sucking will usually cause midline diastema because the thumb exerts pressure on that area. Tongue thrusting may also cause mandibular diastema if the tongue pushes against the lower teeth when swallowing. Correcting these habits in childhood will prevent long-term issues.

Periodontitis (severe gum disease) can cause teeth loss. This infection may also result in bone loss in the jaw, which creates gaps and make the teeth move.

When are gaps in the teeth cause for concern?

A noticeable gap between a child's teeth isn't harmful and will likely close when the permanent teeth come through. Teens and adults may decide to close gaps between the teeth for cosmetic reasons.

Treatment options include restorative treatment like porcelain veneers that widen the teeth and orthodontic closure.

A gap between the back teeth can trap food, causing frequent discomfort and leading to tooth decay or bone loss. Some spaces may be from missing posterior teeth, which put excess force on the remaining teeth.

Underlying periodontal disease is also a common cause of spacing issues. In most cases, diastema is a cosmetic concern for patients, so it may be up to you to decide whether you can live with it.

What is a peg lateral?

Sometimes, the second incisor (the tooth next to the two front teeth) does not develop properly. This is known as peg lateral and is generally pointy and small. Since the tooth is smaller than it should be, gaps may be on both sides.

Veneers, teeth implants and crowns are options for correcting a peg lateral.

How to close the gap between the teeth

Two options are available for closing gaps between the teeth. You can fill small gaps with veneer or dental bonding, but in some cases, you can close the gap with aligners or braces. Your dentist will advise on the most suitable treatment to close the gaps between your teeth.

Closing gaps between the teeth with braces

You can use braces to adjust the position of the teeth near the gap and close the gaps in your mouth. Larger gaps usually require braces treatment, while other methods are available to close smaller gaps.

Your adult teeth must have fully come through before getting braces for diastema. This is vital because children's jaw can grow at varying rates, and the teeth may be smaller than their teeth, and the transition stage between milk and adult teeth can result in natural spacing.

After the jaw has developed and teeth growth is complete, your dentist may discuss treatment options if the diastema persists.

Can aligners close a diastema?

If you want to close the gaps between your teeth without braces, aligners, also called invisible braces, may be the right option. These aligners are barely noticeable, unlike traditional braces. However, clear aligners are an effective option for many people with diastema. They are also removable, which makes them more convenient.

Invisalign is a well-known aligner brand, but also the more expensive option. Invisalign has an advanced technology that can correct up to 90% of orthodontic cases, so if your diastema is severe, you can use Invisalign.

More affordable brands like NewSmile and SmileDirectClub are available, which do not need in-person dental visits. You will record your progress at home by checking in through an app while your assigned dentist monitors your treatment remotely.

How can I close gaps between the teeth without braces?

Aligners and braces are not the only options for closing gaps between the teeth. Two other options include, composite bonding and veneers, are available and suitable for closing one or two gaps. Braces may be the better treatment option if you have several gaps between your teeth.

Your dentist will discuss the most suitable treatment for you during your initial appointment.

  • Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin covers placed on natural teeth to alter their colour or shape. Correcting diastema with veneers is straightforward, but the treatment is suitable only for adults.

When closing gaps between teeth with veneers, the dentist will make the veneers slightly wider than your natural teeth. The veneers will meet in the middle to close the gap.

Porcelain veneers often need two dental visits – the first is to prepare the teeth and take measurements for your veneers, and the second is to fit the veneers. Veneers help to cover small gaps between the teeth, but the result may not look good if the space is large.

Your dentist can tell you what will look natural and if veneers will give an aesthetic result.

  • Composite bonding

The dentist will apply bonding material directly to the teeth to correct diastema with composite bonding. The dentist will build and shape the composite material for the desired result. The composite will slightly extend the tooth to close the gap.

You can have composite bonded on the natural tooth to cover it completely. This is known as a composite veneer. Bonding is also common for repairing chipped teeth.

Bonding vs veneers for a diastema

Below is the summary of the two main treatment options for diastema without braces, including their cost.


Composite bonding

Porcelain veneers

What does it involve?

The dentist adds composite material directly to the teeth to build them up, increasing the teeth' size to fill the gap

The dentist will apply a porcelain cover to the teeth, making them slightly wider to cover the gap

What is the treatment's duration

Requires one visit

Two visits – the first for consultation and the second 1 – 3 weeks after for fitting


£90 - £300 per tooth

£400 - £1000


Fast and lower cost

Last long and hard-wearing


Require touching up – bonding can last up to 5 years and only for small gaps

Require removing some healthy tooth and needs two visits, only for small gaps

How much does closing a diastema cost?

Closing gaps between the teeth can take £200 to fix a gap between two front teeth with composite material and thousands of pounds for braces or porcelain veneers.

The cost of diastema closure with porcelain veneers and composite bonding is in the table above, while braces for diastema cost between £1300 – 5500, depending on the type of braces.

Invisalign treatment for diastema starts at about £2000 for people who need mild orthodontic issues. Severe cases will take about £5500 to correct. You can get an accurate cost of treatment at your initial consultation with the dentist.

Remote monitoring treatment options with direct-to-user brands cost as low as £1295. Closing gaps between the teeth are unlike to be medically necessary, so the treatments aren't available in the public healthcare service.

Adults and children with several teeth spacing issues resulting from hypodontia or naturally missing teeth may get braces, then dental bridges or dentures to fill the gaps. Treatment for periodontitis, which may cause gaps between the teeth, is also available in the public healthcare service.

Visit McKennell Dental Practice at 21 Churton Street London SW1V 2LY to see our dentist to determine if you need treatment for diastema. Our dentist will also advise you on the most suitable treatment option.

Call our dental practice on 020 7834 8802 to book an appointment with our experienced dentist.

Frequently asked questions

Retainers can correct some orthodontic treatments, but they cause only limited movements. Removable or fixed braces are more effective for correcting a diastema.

This depends on what you term naturally. Although veneers, braces, and bonding may be considered natural, they are effective, safe, and deliver natural-looking results.

You can use temporary filling material, but the result may not be durable and natural-looking. At-home teeth straightening kit may be a better solution if you do not want to visit a dentist.

Gaps between baby teeth are normal because the jaw is still developing at this age, and the child may have spaced-out teeth. The space may also be due to both adult and baby teeth being present.

Braces can correct the position of the teeth and give you a more aligned smile. If you aren't happy with the result of your treatment, you should contact your orthodontist.

Normal flossing shouldn't cause gas in the teeth. However, incorrect flossing can harm your gums, causing gum recession and creating an appearance of gaps between the teeth.

Your teeth can shift position as you age, resulting in enamel erosion. This may cause gaps in teeth to increase with age, but you can get braces for diastema later in life.

The treatment's duration depends on the extent of tooth movement needed. Treatment with braces for gapped teeth can take as little as three months.