Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

That Gap in Your Smile: Do You Need to Do Anything About It?

Has Disney ever given you dental advice? This is precisely what happened to Demi Lovato, when the actress was cast in the 2008 Disney channel movie Camp Rock. She was advised to correct her diastema, which the actress has said she now regrets. What is diastema anyway? And does it need to be corrected?

A Congenital Gap

If you have diastema, you'll already know it, although you might have been unfamiliar with the official term. You'll see it each time you smile, because diastema is simply a congenital gap between two teeth—typically your two upper central incisors. So what's the problem with diastema? In most cases, there's no problem whatsoever.

The Look of Your Gap

There can only be a solution when there's a problem to begin with, and it's very much a personal choice as to whether your diastema is a problem. In most instances, this self-determined problem is strictly cosmetic, and it might be that you don't particularly like the look of your gap. That being said, you might appreciate the way it looks. If you don't care for it, then since the problem is strictly cosmetic, the solution is also cosmetic.


Dental veneers are a form of cosmetic dentistry, and this is the way in which your dentist will correct most cases of diastema. The veneers are incredibly thin shells of porcelain the same colour as the teeth they'll be applied to, although their width will be larger than the underlying tooth. This is how the size of the gap is reduced. It's a simple procedure, but a small amount of dental enamel will be removed from these teeth to ensure that they don't look too big for your mouth once the veneers are applied. 


Veneers offer a cosmetic solution, but diastema isn't necessarily strictly a cosmetic problem. In some cases, the size of the gap can create some functionality issues with your overall bite. Even though this will be minor, it's an inconvenience, and generally only creates issues with your speech. Your oral hygiene can also be problematic, through no fault of your own. When veneers or another cosmetic solution (such as dental crowns) are insufficient to close the gap, you might be referred to an orthodontist. Dental braces or another form of alignment treatment can gradually reposition the teeth to reduce the gap caused by your diastema. 

Treatment for most dental conditions isn't optional. It's not a matter of personal preference to treat decay or gingivitis, but since most cases of diastema are cosmetic, it's really up to you if you want to address the issue. In any case, it is always important to consult a dentist about any concerns you may have with your gap.