Do you have a front tooth gap that lowers your confidence and makes you more reluctant to smile? If so, this might be due to your dental habits, the size of your teeth and mouth, or even your genetics.
The good news is that you have several options – both orthodontic and cosmetic – that can eliminate that annoying gap.
Some options involve moving your teeth over time to fill in space. Others involve adding to or covering the problematic teeth for a better appearance.
Read on to find out how to fix a tooth gap and explore seven options.
1. Consider Cosmetic Bonding
If you have a small to moderate tooth gap, your dentist can use cosmetic bonding as a conservative, relatively inexpensive, and fast fix. This option involves using the same tooth-colored composite material that you may have seen used for fillings.
Your dentist will add some of this material to the sides of each tooth to fill the gap. They might also reshape the teeth treated to give them a more natural appearance.
You can expect the bonding to last around five to seven years. Avoiding staining food and drink and not biting into hard foods can help prolong your bonding.
Dental veneers cover the entire front of your teeth to hide imperfections like spacing and chipping. As long as your gap isn’t too big, veneers can provide a longer-lasting result than bonding. But be aware they cost considerably more.
Your dentist can offer you either composite or porcelain veneers.
The composite option uses the same tooth-colored material as bonding. It’s the cheaper option generally lasts about the same time as bonding as well.
You can get 10 to 15 years of wear with porcelain veneers if you’re willing to pay the higher price. These tend to look most natural and are resistant to stains, so they give you a more durable option to hide your tooth gap.
3. Get Treated With Clear Aligners
Similar in appearance to clear orthodontic retainers, clear aligners offer you an alternative to traditional braces. This treatment option can fix your front tooth gap as well as address crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth. It can even correct your bite.
Your dentist will do a panoramic x-ray and make a mold or 3D model of your teeth. You can usually see a simulation of how your teeth will move over time along with the final result.
Depending on your case, you will receive a set of clear aligners that you replace on a weekly or biweekly basis for anywhere from a few months to over a year. You’ll need to wear them most waking hours except when you’re eating or brushing your teeth.
4. Wear Traditional Braces
If you’re not worried about having fixed metal or ceramic brackets on your teeth, consider traditional braces. They may offer a more affordable alternative to clear aligners. This option allows you to correct any orthodontic issues you have at the same time.
While you may worry you’ll have to wear your braces for years, there are now options that can do the job within six months. You can also choose to only treat one arch of your mouth to save money and have a faster treatment time.
When you use traditional braces to fix your tooth gap, you can expect to make regular trips to the dentist for adjustments. You’ll also need to avoid eating hard or sticky foods that can cause your brackets or wires to break.
5. Get a Frenectomy
In some cases, you may have a front tooth gap due to the frenum between your top front gums and your cheek. Sometimes, this tissue grows to be too big or thick so that it can’t move properly. This can cause a gap when your front teeth grow in as a child, and braces alone won’t even fix this problem.
If this happens to you, you can get a surgical frenectomy procedure. Using lasers or hand tools, your dentist will be able to make your frenum the right size and close your gap.
You can expect to have some pain, swelling, and bleeding for a few days after your frenectomy. You’ll heal completely within several weeks.
6. Consider Removable Orthodontic Appliances
If you want something quicker than braces or clear aligners, you can find removable appliances that look similar to orthodontic retainers. This option can fix your tooth gap in as little as six weeks and is much cheaper than other orthodontic options.
These removable appliances usually have springs towards the back that help push your front teeth together on the top, bottom, or both arches. There is also a wire that is visible across your teeth.
You’ll usually wear your appliance for up to 20 hours a day. Like with clear aligners, you’ll remove it for eating and brushing. Your dentist will also have you come in for adjustments based on a custom schedule.
7. Use Tooth Gap Bands
Another popular option to get rid of a tooth gap is to use tooth gap bands that look like little rubber bands. The band will go around the two teeth, and the force will push your teeth together over time.
While this may be a cheap option, it has some risks. If the band gets under your gums, you can end up losing your tooth. In that case, you’ll find yourself needing more expensive dental work such as an implant.
If you plan to use tooth gap bands, be sure to consult your dentist and have them monitor your teeth during the process.
Consider All Your Dental Options
Regardless of your budget, you have several ways to get rid of the tooth gap that bugs you. An important will factor will be how soon you want to see results.
Since several issues can cause gaps, consult with a dentist who can give you insight on which options will work best for you. For example, getting braces would be a waste if the problem is really your frenum. Comprehensive orthodontic treatment may also end up the best option if you’ve got problems like crowding and a bad bite.
Be sure to view our other posts about orthodontic retainers and tooth movement.