Tooth gaps are an extremely common issue in cosmetic dentistry, but they are generally harmless and rarely need to be fixed for health purposes. The technical term for these gaps is diastema, and though they can happen between any of the teeth in your mouth, you're probably familiar with gaps between people's middle front teeth. This is usually because they are the most visible. Tooth gaps are often just a cosmetic issue, though fixing gaps can also help alleviate or prevent other problems.
Sometimes Gaps Fix Themselves
Many children and young adults will get some type of tooth gap, and this is because their teeth are still coming in and moving around as they try to find space. Because of this, a gap may correct itself over time as teeth move into place. If you are young and are interested in fixing this gap, but otherwise have no cosmetic issues, it may be worth waiting to see if the gap disappears on its own. If the gap just seems to be getting larger, it may still correct itself in time, but consult a dentist for a professional opinion.
Methods of Closing Gaps
Gaps can be closed in a variety of different ways, some of which don't even require you to move the teeth or attach any dental appliances to them.
- Do-It-Yourself Bands: Teeth effect bands are by far the cheapest option, and something you can try yourself at home. They work by placing one around the two teeth at night, which draws the two teeth together to close the gap. However, there are risks involved: this process can be painful, and can also draw other straight teeth out of alignment.
- Braces and Retainers: Braces and retainers work using the same general method as effect bands, and push or pull teeth closer together. These cost more, but will generally give you much better results because they are designed to work with your specific situation and the rest of your teeth. This method may also be less painful, but since your teeth are still getting tugged on, expect some sensitivity.
- Veneers and Bonding: If the gap between your teeth isn't very large, your dentist can apply a tooth-colored resin to both teeth, which removes the gap, then carve a new space between them for a natural look. Between these and braces, this option is generally cheaper, and is also typically a one-time procedure. The catch is that the artificial materials don't last forever, much like fillings, and may have to be replaced years into the future.
Why Fix Gaps?
Simple gaps aren't usually dangerous, but it can benefit you to have them fixed. Gaps are more likely to catch food, and if not taken care of properly can cause cavities or gum disease. If your teeth are still growing in, reducing or removing a gap can give your other teeth more room, which in turn means lessening the chance any teeth will need to be extracted for growing in incorrectly.Share