Diastema is the term used by the dentist to describe a space between two teeth, usually the two front teeth of the upper jaw. If the gap remains after the permanent teeth have erupted, it is very likely that the diastema will remain until the child receives orthodontic treatment.
Aside from missing teeth, diastemas may also be caused by teeth that are too long or too small in relation to the jaw, or by dental alignment problems such as an overbite. In some cases, an oversized labial frenulum is to blame. The frenulum is the tissue around the inside of the lip that extends to meet the gum tissue around the upper two front teeth. When the tissue is too large, it can push the teeth apart, causing the diastema.
A diastema may be treated, depending on the severity of the condition and the reason for its occurrence. Orthodontic treatments and braces may be used to slowly move the teeth together and close the space between them. Another treatment option may be applying veneers to the teeth.
If an oversized labial frenulum is the cause of the diastema, a surgical procedure known as a frenectomy may be performed. The tissue is cut and then repositioned to allow greater flexibility and the gap may close naturally.