Gaps in teeth are one of the most common dental concerns. Did you know that according to the American Dental Association, as many as 25.4% of people suffer from a gap between their front two teeth? While some gaps may be minute and barely perceptible to the naked eye, there are instances where these gaps can be significantly larger and more conspicuous.
Interestingly, numerous orthodontic treatments are available to cure such gap teeth. However, the question is: do you need braces if you have a gap in your teeth? If not braces, then can other orthodontic or prosthetic treatments cure the gap teeth?
This blog will guide you through all such questions and answers and help you understand if braces are the solution to your gap teeth. But before, it will dive into what gap teeth it, what causes them, and the possible complications.
Time to dig in!
- 1 What Are Gap Teeth Anyway?
- 3 Are There Any Complications Caused By Gap Teeth?
- 4 What Are The Types Of Gap Teeth?
- 5 What Are The Various Treatment Options For Gap Teeth?
- 6 Dental Bonding
- 7 Do You Need Braces If You Have A Gap In Your Teeth?
- 8 Alternatives To Braces For Gap Teeth
- 9 Conclusion
What Are Gap Teeth Anyway?
Large spaces between two or more teeth are referred to as gaps. These gaps occur when:
– Teeth grow improperly
– Teeth become misaligned
All these cause them to go too far apart instead of being in contact with each other.
Causes of gap teeth
Several factors can contribute to gaps between teeth. These include:
● Natural skeletal development, where the teeth grow in a certain way that creates gaps.
● Extra teeth that push other teeth out of their proper positions.
● Missing teeth create a large gap or cause other teeth to fill the gap incorrectly.
● Premature loss of baby teeth, which can result in misaligned adult teeth.
● Small teeth that do not take up the appropriate amount of space.
● A large jawbone creates excess space for the teeth and results in gaps.
● A too-large tongue can cause the teeth to flare and create spaces between them.
● Periodontal disease leads to bone loss between the teeth. It causes teeth to become mobile and shift, resulting in gaps.
● High frenum attachment or the band of skin between teeth attaching the lip to the jaw. It can cause spacing to develop.
Are There Any Complications Caused By Gap Teeth?
A gap between the front teeth can cause problems with tooth crowding or bite issues. This is because larger gaps may not provide enough room for adjacent teeth to emerge properly. As a result, teeth may become misaligned, and bite problems can arise. These issues may also cause crooked or crowded teeth, as well as jaw pain.
Besides, when you have crowded teeth, it becomes harder to clean thoroughly. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.
What Are The Types Of Gap Teeth?
There are different types of gap teeth, which can occur due to various reasons, including:
● Diastema: This is the most common type of gap between teeth, which is usually found between the upper front teeth. It can be due to differences in the size of the teeth or the jawbone.
● Missing teeth: Gaps can also occur due to missing teeth, which can cause the surrounding teeth to shift and create spaces.
● Crowding: Teeth can sometimes become crowded and push against each other, causing gaps to appear.
● Small teeth: Teeth that are smaller than average can create gaps in the mouth because they do not take up as much space as larger teeth.
● Large jawbone: A jawbone that is larger than average can create spaces between the teeth.
● Protrusion: When the front teeth protrude, they can create gaps between the upper and lower teeth.
● Periodontal disease: Gum disease can cause bone loss between teeth, leading to mobile teeth that shift and create gaps.
What Are The Various Treatment Options For Gap Teeth?
Fortunately, gaps between teeth can be fixed with skilled orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists are trained to handle this condition and offer various treatment options, including Invisalign, metal braces, and ceramic braces. A retainer is also used to prevent the gaps from recurring.
Braces are the most widely used treatment to close gaps between teeth. You can go for various styles of braces, viz., metal, ceramic, and behind the teeth (lingual) braces, depending on your diagnosis.
● Effective in correcting various orthodontic issues, including gaps between teeth
● Offer different options (metal, ceramic, lingual) to suit personal preferences and needs
● Can be uncomfortable or cause temporary pain and soreness
● Requires regular adjustments and maintenance
● Can make eating certain foods more difficult
Invisalign Clear Aligners
Invisalign treatment is a dependable and comfortable option for treating gaps between teeth. They can achieve comparable outcomes to conventional braces without the presence of metal braces in the mouth. Besides, they are less invasive and can correct gaps in teeth for both adolescents and adults.
● Clear aligners are virtually invisible, making them a discreet option
● Can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing, improving oral hygiene
● Generally more comfortable than traditional braces
● Requires high compliance and responsibility to wear aligners for the recommended amount of time each day
● Requires regular appointments for monitoring and aligner replacements
In cases where small teeth are causing gaps between teeth, dental bonding may be necessary to achieve complete closure. However, to ensure the success of the bonding process, proper tooth alignment is essential.
● Quick and non-invasive procedure
● Can be completed in one visit to the dentist
● Requires minimal removal of natural tooth structure
● May not be as durable or long-lasting as other cosmetic dental procedures
● Bonding material can chip or break off over time and require repair or replacement
● Can stain or discolor over time
Retainers are often used as a protective measure after braces or Invisalign. Retainers are either made of plastic and metal or may look like a clear aligner set. You would need to wear it at night to maintain your smile and prevent gaps from reappearing.
To ensure that aligned teeth stay in place, orthodontists often recommend a bonded retainer that is glued behind the teeth. This is because gaps can return if not properly addressed after treatment.
● Help maintain the results of orthodontic treatment by keeping teeth in place
● Customized to fit each individual’s teeth for maximum effectiveness
● Easy to care for and clean
● Must be worn consistently for best results, often at night or for a specific amount of time each day
● Can be lost or damaged, requiring replacement or repair
● It may cause temporary speech changes or lisp
Factors to consider before getting braces for gaps
Before getting braces to address gaps between teeth, there are several important factors to consider:
● The severity of the gap: The size and severity of the gap will impact the type of braces and the length of treatment.
● Overall oral health: It is important to ensure that the teeth and gums are in good health before starting orthodontic treatment.
● Age: Braces are most effective in children and adolescents but can also be effective for adults.
● Personal preferences: Braces come in different materials and braces. So consider your personal preferences when choosing the type of braces.
● Cost: The cost of braces varies depending on the braces’ type and treatment length.
● Maintenance: Remember that braces require regular maintenance and adjustments throughout the treatment.
It’s essential to consult with an orthodontist or dentist to determine the underlying cause of any gap teeth and receive appropriate treatment.
Do You Need Braces If You Have A Gap In Your Teeth?
Braces are often said to be the best solution to gap teeth. Braces can correct the issue by treating the arch length. They are also good for closing gaps due to missing teeth, especially for young patients with congenitally missing teeth. In addition, braces require minimal upkeep and don’t involve adding anything artificial to the teeth.
Alternatives To Braces For Gap Teeth
If your teeth are broken, worn, or too small, extra treatment other than braces is required. These include:
Tooth-colored composite bonding is a great solution for filling small gaps between teeth. The procedure is simple, long-lasting, and non-invasive, producing excellent results when performed appropriately for the right case.
Dental veneers are used to enhance the shape and appearance of teeth that are too small, worn down, damaged by acid erosion, or malformed. They are placed over the existing teeth to improve their shape and proportions.
Dental crowns are generally used for closing gaps between teeth only if the teeth get damaged by decay, fracture, or severe wear/erosion caused by large fillings. The crowns are placed over the prepared teeth to restore their shape, strength, and aesthetics.
Hope this blog helps you answer the million-dollar question: do you need braces if you have gap teeth? Well, the need for braces will depend on the severity of the gaps, the overall condition of the teeth, and the underlying cause of the gaps. If the gaps are caused by overcrowding or misalignment, braces can help to move the teeth into the correct position and close the gaps.
However, if missing teeth or other structural issues cause the gaps, braces alone may not be sufficient to correct the problem. It is best to consult with an orthodontist to determine the best treatment plan for your specific case.
Closing the Gap: Do You Need Braces for Gapped Teeth?
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!