Why Do Teeth Gaps Increase? | Exploring the Causes

April 23, 2024

If you’re also thinking about “Why do teeth gaps increase?” Having gaps between your teeth is quite common. Diastema, the technical term used for a gap between teeth, is something many people experience. At Innovative Dental and Orthodontics in Oviedo, Florida, we often have patients inquire about the reasons behind these gaps and their potential impact on oral health.

Various factors can contribute to diastema, and the appearance of the gaps can vary depending on the underlying cause. While aesthetic concerns often top the list of worries for patients with gaps, it's essential to recognize that this dental condition can also have implications for oral health in certain cases.

Our experienced dentists are here to address your questions and provide insights into the diverse treatment options available.

So, What is Diastema?

Diastema, clinically known as a gap between teeth, typically occurs between the two front teeth, known as midline diastema. These gaps can vary in size, ranging from small to large. Generally, diastema doesn't pose significant risks to oral health. However, in certain instances, it may serve as an indicator of underlying gum disease.

Why Do Teeth Gaps Increase?

Diastema, the technical term for gaps between teeth, can arise from various factors affecting both the aesthetics and sometimes the function of a smile. Let's delve into the reasons why do teeth gap increase:

Jawbone and Tooth Size Discrepancy

If a person's teeth are disproportionately small compared to the size of their jawbone, it can lead to the development of gaps between the teeth. This size difference between the jawbone and teeth can be attributed to genetic factors, which is why diastemas, or gaps between teeth, often run in families.

Missing or Undersized Teeth

Gaps can also form when some teeth are missing or smaller than others. This is particularly common with the upper lateral incisors, the teeth adjacent to the two upper front teeth. When these lateral incisors are absent or smaller than average, it can result in a noticeable gap between the two front teeth.

Oversized Labial Frenum

The labial frenum, the tissue connecting the inside of the upper lip to the gum above the upper front teeth, can contribute to gap formation if it is excessively large. The presence of an oversized labial frenum can exert pressure on the front teeth, causing them to separate and create a gap.

Gum Disease and Tooth Migration

Advanced gum disease can lead to tooth migration, where inflammation and bone damage around the teeth cause them to become loose. As a result, gaps may appear between the teeth due to the shifting and movement caused by gum disease.

Incorrect Swallowing Reflex

When the swallowing reflex occurs incorrectly, with the tongue pushing against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth, it can gradually push the teeth forward. Over time, this repetitive pressure on the front teeth can lead to the development of gaps between them.


Certain habits like thumb sucking, lip sucking, and tongue thrusting can exert continuous pressure on the front teeth, pushing them forward and creating gaps. These habits can disrupt the natural alignment of the teeth and contribute to the formation of diastemas.

Loss of Primary Teeth

Children may experience temporary diastemas when their primary teeth, or baby teeth, fall out. However, these gaps typically close once their permanent or adult teeth erupt. This natural developmental process is considered normal in children, and treatment is usually not necessary.

Prevalence in Children

Studies have shown that diastemas, particularly between the central incisors, are common in children, with approximately two-thirds of children experiencing this phenomenon when only their central incisors have erupted. The central incisors are the two flat teeth at the front of the upper jaw.

Causes of Why Do Teeth Gaps Increase

The primary indicator of diastema manifests as a noticeable space between the teeth. Alongside this characteristic, individuals may also observe various accompanying symptoms, including:

  • Receding gums
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tooth mobility or looseness
  • Gums appearing bright red in color

Treatment Options for Gaps Between Teeth

Diastema, the gap between your teeth, might not require treatment if it's temporary due to baby teeth loss or doesn't affect your dental health. However, you can choose cosmetic treatment for a confident smile. Here are your options:

Addressing the Gap

  • Braces: A common treatment, braces use gentle pressure to shift teeth closer. You might need full braces even for one gap.
  • Veneers: These custom-made, thin porcelain shells are bonded to the front of your teeth, ideal for diastema caused by smaller teeth.
  • Invisalign: These clear aligners gradually move teeth into position, a popular and virtually invisible alternative to braces.
  • Dental Implants: Missing teeth causing the gap require implants. These are artificial tooth roots surgically placed in your jawbone, topped with a crown.
  • Dental Bonding: A resin material is applied and hardened with light to fill gaps caused by slightly smaller teeth.

Treating the Cause

  • Gum Disease Treatment: If gum disease is the culprit, your dentist will prioritize treating the infection to prevent tooth loss. This may involve removing tartar buildup.
  • Orthodontic Surgery: An abnormally positioned frenum (tissue connecting lip to gum) or a cyst might require surgery to remove excess tissue before orthodontic treatment can begin.

Close the Gaps in Your Teeth with Innovative Dental & Orthodontics

Innovative Dental and Orthodontics in Oviedo, FL, offers a free consultation to discuss diastema treatment. We have a gentle and experienced team using the latest techniques to close gaps and create a confident smile. We understand some patients feel anxious, so we offer special support to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

Ready to learn more?

Contact us today to book your consultation and discuss the best options for you.


Diastemas, or gaps between teeth, can be a double-edged sword. Some find them attractive and a sign of individuality, while others may feel self-conscious about them. The rise of supermodels rocking their gap teeth has certainly put diastemas in the spotlight.
Normally, gaps between teeth (diastema) don't grow bigger over time. If you feel like the space between your teeth is widening, see your dentist. It might be a sign of gum disease.
While braces are a well-known option for closing gaps between teeth, other treatments like crowns, bonding, veneers, and aligners can achieve similar results. These alternatives may even be more affordable and comfortable than traditional braces.
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