Personal insecurity about one’s appearance is a complex, unforgiving phenomenon. We look in the mirror and make a big deal out of details others, in all likelihood, don’t even notice. Watching movies, we see those perfect Hollywood smiles and it eats at us — if only my smile looked like that. Job interview? “Maybe I won’t get hired because someone will notice my teeth.” People will tell you — it’s what’s inside that counts. And there are some things you just can’t change.
Balding? Sorry, pal. Freckles? Embrace them! Birthmark? It’s part of you. But … what if there was something that bugged you that was easy to change. Something that you can do that you’d wish you’d done years earlier? Something like closing that gap in your teeth that has affected your self esteem for so long? You might see gap-toothed celebs Jack Black, or Madonna, or Woody Harrelson and it makes you obsess over your own tooth gap, wondering “how do people see me?” In France, teeth with gaps are called “lucky teeth” or “happy teeth.” But cultures differ, and for some Americans, having a gap between their teeth makes them anything but happy. In the majority of cases, taking action to close a tooth gap is well worth it, if it improves a patient’s confidence. These days, having a gap-free smile is easily, painlessly and affordably done, without any health risks. Here, we explore the pros and cons of each type of “gap-closing” alternative.
If you see your reflection and that gap between your teeth bothers you every time, placing a negative effect on your self confidence, it makes sense to assess your options for fixing it. Moving on with your life in this way may be more realistic than you think. Assessment starts with knowing what teeth gaps are, and why they form.
The formal name for a gap between two teeth is a diastema, and in humans, this term is most commonly used to describe a space between the two front incisors. Diastema can happen in children and adults, and sometimes the gap can close by itself as a child grows older. There are a few factors that can cause this gap to form, and sometimes a person’s diastema can be caused by more than one condition. Heredity does play a role too, so perhaps you can thank your parents for the gap that has drawn you to this blog post.
First, gaps may form between teeth due to the teeth being too small for the jawbone. That means the teeth have room to space out. Second, there is the tissue that borders your gum line and front teeth. This labial frenulum can overgrow between the teeth, causing a gap to form. Third, teeth gaps can happen because of habits. Thumb-sucking in children pressurizes the front teeth, pushing them outward and apart; and in children and adults, tongue-thrusting can be the cause of a gap between teeth. Tongue thrusting is associated with the swallowing reflex. Some people, when swallowing, press their tongue against the front teeth rather than the roof of the mouth. Finally, gum disease can be a cause for diastema. This is where inflammation affects the gums and tissue that support the teeth.
If your gap is caused by gum disease, the cause should most certainly should not be left untreated. Only once gum disease is remedied — bacteria eliminated and bone health addressed — should action be taken to reduce the gap between your teeth. Most often though, a tooth gap is merely a cosmetic issue that does not pose any health concerns. Your toothbrush can access the gap, food doesn’t get caught as easily, tartar buildup is reduced. It can be ok.
But there is always the question of self esteem. Everyone should feel completely confident in flashing a broad, beaming smile. If the gap between your teeth brings you down and inhibits your ability to communicate, smile, interact and feel confident — considering ways to fix your gap is advised.
Technology has come a long way. Absolutely, you can fix a gap in your teeth without using braces. Zac Efron did it. These days, there are multiple ways to fix your tooth gap. They are:
Some procedures and solutions are more invasive, painful, or expensive than others. Some are completely painless. Here is what you need to know about how each of these dental options can fix the gap between your teeth.
Braces used to be the go-to for straightening and shifting teeth, but now they are something of a last resort. Braces apply pressure over a long period of time, to draw teeth in the desired direction and align the jawbones. It’s an extremely effective method of fixing your gap but it hurts! And it’s expensive. There are better options because this is a little more than what most people with a simple diastema need.
Similarly, implants are used to fill in a single-tooth size gap. An enamel tooth is inserted into the bone or attached to surrounding teeth. An implant is the highest-cost procedure in our list of gap-fixes, and is not something most people with a small gap need to worry about.
Here we have a procedure normally reserved for repairing chipped or broken teeth. It’s effective, and affordable, but these days, not really common for fixing a gap between the front teeth. The problem with bonding is that the bonding agent is not entirely stain-proof.
A crown is a porcelain shell that serves a cosmetic purpose, as well as being a way to repair a cracked tooth. They can also be added to teeth to create an even bite, and being porcelain, it will last a lifetime. A veneer, on the other hand, is a thin shell of porcelain that is bonded to the teeth after a little bit of enamel is removed. These are expensive but popular, especially now that the veneer quality is high. Customer satisfaction is usually a given, but one issue with veneers is that it requires a professional, reputable dentist to carry out the dental work.
These are bands placed around two teeth, which draw the teeth together when worn in bed each night. And they do work, and don’t cost much once an initial check for suitability is done by the dentist. There are limitations, however. The gap cannot be too big, and your other teeth must be straight, or dental issues could happen when the bands start to take effect. Larger gaps can take up to six months to close.
Clear retainers are the best way to affordably and safely fix a gap between the teeth. There is really no downside to an Invisalign style retainer. These are a relatively new alternative to braces but their popularity is surging because the product gets great results. With a high-quality provider such as NewSmile®, an impression kit is sent to a customer’s home, and once the impression of the teeth is made, sent back to the retainer provider. NewSmile® specialists then assess whether the Invisalign product is suitable for each unique customer, and if so, plastic molds are sent and worn by the customer. The customer changes out the retainer as teeth move and the gap closes, for however long is necessary. Kids — and adults who have put up with a gapped smile for far longer than they care to think about — love clear aligners because they are invisible, removable at meal times, and work fast. Clear aligners are a low-cost fix, and in almost all cases, highly successful.
If you have been withholding your smile for years because of a gap between your teeth and are curious about what you’d look like with a gleaming, gap-free smile, there is no reason not to try Invisalign style retainers from a provider such as NewSmile®. You don’t need to wonder about how to fix a gap in your front teeth without braces. Clear aligners are affordable, effective, and no-one will even know you are wearing one — the first they’ll know of it is when you reveal a Hollywood smile you finally feel confident in wearing.
Ready to start wearing a new, happy smile you will love? Why wait? Order an Impression Kit, or see if you're a fit with our NewSmile® smile assessment now to find out if clear aligners will work for you.