Mind the Gap!

Although gaps between teeth are actually believed to bring wealth, fertility, or luck in some cultures, many of our patients have concerns with gaps between teeth leading to compromised aesthetic, speech discomfort, and difficulty maintaining oral hygiene.

Orthodontists, on the other hand, admit generally that aligners nowadays are the best and most effective orthodontic means to treat patients suffering from spacing problems.

But why is it that some of us have gaps between teeth?

Mind the gap teeth gap

Tooth gaps have a few potential causes, some more likely than others.

  • Most often, it’s the result of difference between the size of your teeth and that of your jaw bone. That means that even though your teeth are statistically of normal or reduced size, yet erupted on a relatively big jaw, they tend to have spaces between them. This discrepancy is often genetic, so gaps can run in families.
  • Sometimes childhood habits like thumb-sucking or functional impairment like oral breathing tend to push teeth forward and out of position causing irregular gaps. Closing these gaps most often need speech therapy along with compliance to ensure closing these gaps won’t relapse.
  • Spacing can also be caused by periodontal disease (gum disease). In patients with gum disease, the bone surrounding and keeping teeth in place begin to weaken and as a result, the teeth begin to move causing them to form gaps.
  • Gaps in the front teeth can also be caused by extra tissue growing between them. The tissue that connects your upper lip to the gums is called your frenum and this can overgrow sometimes. If it does grow too much it can force a diastema, a gap between a person’s two upper front teeth.
  • Sometimes the tooth called the second incisor – that’s the one next to the very front two teeth – doesn’t develop properly. This is known as a peg lateral incisor. When this happens, the tooth is quite small and has a pointy shape. Because it is smaller than it should be, there might be gaps on either side.

For most of these causes an orthodontic approach using Spark aligners, with or without any dental bonding or veneers, maybe the best solution. If gaps are accompanied or caused by a more serious jaw alignment problem (overjet, deep bite or cross bite …) it may require more significant mechanics to achieve the results you are looking for, so you and your orthodontist might need to consider a longer more comprehensive treatment option.  No matter the approach, long-term retention is sometimes a must, preferably with fixed wire retainers to ensure that the spaces stay closed.

With Spark aligners we can go through all possible options closing these gaps while having you, the patient, benefit on many levels. Of all the numerous advantages that Spark aligners have, three, in particular, are significant for gap closing issues:

  • Barely visible: During the treatment period, Spark aligners compared to other aligner brands will be virtually invisible. Unlike someone who is wearing traditional braces, you will not have to be embarrassed each time you smile. Furthermore, the plastic itself while covering the gap, reduces significantly the visible part of the diastema by reflecting the adjacent tooth color on the plastic.
  • Efficient and effective: Spark aligner material, called TruGEN, has been proven to provide advance sustained force retention and better contact surface area with the tooth compared to the leading aligner brand.  This can lead to faster treatment through more efficient tooth movement
  • Improved oral hygiene: Patients using removable aligners allow for better dental care and oral hygiene. As a result, food particles trapped in the gaps will be easily removed during the closing procedure.

So, if you are not comfortable with the gaps on your front teeth or spacing on your posterior teeth, you should be pleased to know that Spark aligners along with an experienced orthodontist undergoing a thorough clinical examination and diagnosis will elaborate the perfect treatment plan to satisfy your goals and giving you this long-awaited confident smile.

*data on file.

Dr. Andre is a paid consultant for Ormco.
The opinions that are quoted in this material are those of Dr. Andre. Clinicians use your own judgment when treating your patients.