Gappy Teeth

Got a gap between your two teeth? It is known as a diastema. Among little children, especially those below the age of 18, it's a commonplace to find gaps between their teeth. Should this raise an eyebrow? Not at all. These space fills up as kids begin to develop permanent adult teeth gradually.

Even when certain people grow to become adults, they may still retain those gappy teeth. Sometimes, it is in more than one place in their mouth. However, you can fill up diastema using any of the several available dental treatments. There have been situations where people choose to retain, specifically the gap between the two front teeth. Apart from looking beautiful in a smile, some cultures think of it as an attraction for wealth, luck, or fertility.

Just so that you don't miss the point, clarity will be given about this topic. In this post, the following concepts will be discussed:

  • What are gaps in teeth?
  • Why are there gaps in teeth?
  • Closing gappy teeth using different treatment options
  • Common questions and answers

From the knowledge you will gather here, it is our belief that you can choose the best solution for diastema closure in case you or your child has gappy teeth. 

Table of contents

  1. Diastema defined
  2. What causes gap in anterior teeth?
  3. Closure treatment for diastema
  4. How much does it cost to treat diastema?
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

Diastema defined

You have diastema if there's a gap between two teeth. It is obvious when the front teeth are affected, but other parts of the teeth can still have gaps. A mandibular diastema is a gap between the teeth of the lower dental arch.  But when the teeth in front of the mouth are spaced or have a gap, it is described as a median or midline diastema.

Studies reveal that the number of persons having diastema is between 1.6 - 25.4%. This figure is quite on the high side.

For babies, gaps in teeth are inevitable. Besides, it's a natural thing because, at this phase, their teeth and jaw are in the development process. As growth happens and babies grow into adults and lose their baby teeth, existing gaps often disappear on its own. You need to consult a qualified dentist if you still have gappy teeth in adulthood.

Do you know that having diastema demands you step up your oral hygiene? A water flosser and interdental brushes can help you with the easy cleaning of the gaps.

What causes gap in anterior teeth?

There is a myriad of factors that lead to gaps between teeth. A major culprit is a mismatch in the size of the jaw and teeth. This is why if your teeth are small or you've got a big jaw, there won't be a uniformity due to too much space in the mouth.

The next factor responsible for diastema is the growth of extra tissue above the teeth. That little skin located between the lip and top front teeth, called frenum, may sometimes get abnormally large. It is this skin growth that separates the two upper front teeth leading to gappy teeth.

Some behaviours may also trigger the emergence of diastema, including the following:

  • Tongue thrusting
  • Sucking of the thumb
  • Bad dental hygiene which causes gum disease

The median type of diastema is a direct result of what happens when people suck their thumb; that area receives the pressure from the thumb. When you thrust your tongue by pushing it against the bottom teeth in a swallow, it causes mandibulardiastema. Good enough, these behaviours can be corrected early in childhood to prevent complex issues.

Periodontitis, a severe gum disease gradually weakens and causes loss of teeth. Again, this dental disease can lead to bone loss in the jaw; a condition that results in unstable teeth and consequently, gap formation between teeth.

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What is a peg lateral?

Occasionally, the tooth close to the two front teeth, which is known as the 'second incisor' doesn't develop properly. It is this condition that is known as a peg lateral. Here, the size of the tooth is very small and pointed. Due to its abnormal small size, it could cause gaps to appear on the two sides.

Fixing a peg lateral is possible with the use of dental implants, veneers, or even crowns.

Closure treatment for diastema

The procedure for filling up gaps between teeth isn't so complicated. Besides, there are several treatment options which your dentist will discuss with you, including orthodontia. This concept will be discussed later on. Since diastema is relative to each patient, the onus lies on your dentist to prescribe the kind of treatment that's suitable for your condition.

Braces for gappy teeth

People can have their gappy teeth slowly straightened and filled with braces treatment. Do you know that bigger spaces between teeth can be more effectively closed with braces? However, small size gaps can be corrected with other treatment options.

The condition for diastema closure with braces is that it cannot be done during braces. You must have lost all your milk teeth before getting braces. The significance of this is that a child's jaw may have a different size from the teeth. The jaw can be smaller or bigger than the teeth. Most interesting is the fact that gappy teeth can be caused by a blend of milk teeth and adult teeth. Finally, braces can only work for well-developed teeth. In case of any problems, you may be referred to other non-braces options by your dentist.

Closing gaps with Invisalign

This is a great alternative to the use of braces. To a great extent, clear aligners can correct diastema. These beautiful, hardly noticeable aligners have been discovered to treat around  90% of patients having gaps between teeth effectively. Unlike traditional braces which are fixed, Invisalign gives its users the advantage of taking them out easily.

If you're interested in Invisalign and would like to take an assessment to check your suitability, consult your dentist right away.

If you opt for a face to face discussion, schedule an appointment with an Invisalign dentist around you to discuss what you need. A lot of these dentists offer an initial consultation that's free and non-obligatory.

Invisalign is widely known for its efficacy in treating a wide range of orthodontic problems; up to 90%. Asa highly advanced treatment which offers support to patients, there are at-home Invisalign options that give you the opportunity to receive treatment while at home. When you get the kit which is usually posted to your house, there are instructions on how to take a mould of your teeth yourself. After that, you'll send this impression to the laboratory which will now design your aligners and send them to you. An online progress check on your treatment will be done by a dentist or orthodontist. For the price of £999, you'll get this treatment since it covers in-office dental checkups.

These two styles of Invisalign treatments are good for gap closure.  Your choice depends on how severe your case is, your budget, and whether you prefer an in-person dental consultation.

Can diastema be filled up without braces?

Remember we said there are many options for treating gappy teeth. So braces and Invisalign are not the only treatment options. The dentist may recommend composite bonding and veneers for diastema. But note that these options are functional when you have just a single or double gap to close. If the gaps are more than two and large, braces treatment works better than others.

Work with your dentist or orthodontist to get the best solution for your diastema. Be that as it may, the working of veneers and composite bonding plus their pros and cons will be discussed next for better comprehension.

Porcelain veneers

These are thin custom shells used to cover the front part of the teeth and improve its colour and shape. It is easy to correct gappy teeth using veneers, but just like braces, only adults can get treated.

Your dentist will design your veneers to be larger than the teeth so that when they are fitted, they will meet midway and cover up the gap.

Two dental visits are required for porcelain veneers. The initial consultation sees your teeth prepped and a mould for veneers taken. During your second visit, by which time the veneers have been produced, the dentist will fit them over your teeth.

Veneers may not be very good at filling up large gaps but are effective for closing small gaps. Should you decide to use veneers for wide gap closure, your teeth will look very big and unattractive. That would not look good on you.

Apart from what you may need as a patient, your dentist knows better. So it's smart to consult them for their opinion in restoring your smile. The orthodontist has got experience in dentistry and can tell you exactly what treatment is right for your condition. 

Composite bonding

A material like composite resin is used during this treatment procedure to directly cover up gaps between teeth. This approach requires no lab work; the dentist will expertly place the composite according to the predetermined shape and appearance. To close gaps, the composite is used to stretch the teeth further.

Your teeth can get covered up entirely with composite material. But it is now described as composite veneers. Cases of chipped teeth are typically treated using this dental work. For more information on dental bonding, consult your dentist.

Veneers vs bonding for gap teeth closure

You will find in the table below, a summary of the just discussed dental options plus how much these treatments cost. 

Porcelain veneers

Composite bonding

What to look out for

The thin shells are designed to be a bit wider than the natural teeth to close the gap when attached.

By adding a composite material directly to the teeth, their size increases and the gap is closed.

What is the duration for treatment?

The number of visits to the dentist is 2. There's an initial consultation, followed by an installation after  1 to 3 weeks.

You can get treated in just one dental visit.

What's the treatment cost?

£400 to £1000 per tooth

£90 to £300 per tooth

Advantages

A strong and long-term solution

A fast and less pricey procedure

Disadvantages

A number of healthy teeth are extracted. Requires two visits to the dentist. Closes only small gaps.

Few adjustments are needed. Bonding remains active for 5 years. Covers only small gaps.

How much does it cost to treat diastema?

From around £200, you may get composite bonding for the two front teeth. But braces or porcelain veneers may cost thousands of pounds.

If you noticed, the above table supplied the treatment fees for veneers and bonding. Diastema correction with braces costs between £1,000 and £5,500 depending on the type of braces recommended by the dentist.

Small orthodontic work for gap closure involving Invisalign Lite or i7 may attract a starting price of around £1,500. But serious teeth issues can be better restored with Invisalign Full. See an Invisalign dentist to get a precise quote for gappy teeth treatment. Since Invisalign providers abound in the UK, finding one in your area won't be an issue.

If you like a more private correction that requires no face to face dental consultation, place an order for at-home Invisalign kit and follow the instructions to get treated. A good example is the Straight My Teeth's clear aligners. They are not as expensive and can fix mild cases of diastema. You can get them for the price of £999. Above all, know that these aligners don't have the same capacity to treat the dental issues Invisalign can handle.

Treating diastema is considered an aesthetic work which is why there's no financial cover for it on the NHS in the UK.

Hypodontia, which causes severe gappy teeth in children and adults might make them suitable candidates for braces followed by dentures to treat diastema. It is noteworthy to mention that the NHS covers a dental concern such as periodontitis; another factor that can trigger gaps between teeth.

More information on the different braces types and the available finance options for dental procedures you undergo can be obtained from your dentist.

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FAQs

Can a retainer be used to fix gaps between teeth?

Apart from being unable to give the teeth the required support for movement, the use of retainers is time-consuming in orthodontics. So, the normal procedure is to get the gaps closed with fixed or removable braces and keep the new teeth in position with retainers.

If you would still love something close to retainers, the removable aligner braces are a suitable option. They are not bonded permanently to the teeth like metal braces. Also, they are not easily spotted, unlike traditional braces which are obvious. Need removable braces? See your Invisalign expert for assessment to know if you can have them. Some of these dentists offer a free consultation to patients.

Is there a natural treatment for diastema?

What is considered here is your own description of 'natural'. Bonding, veneers, and braces are artificial dental procedures, yet they are very functional and safe in treating malocclusions, plus the result looks natural.

It is becoming a norm for people to use elastic bands to pull gappy teeth together in a bid to close the gaps. Note that this practice is not safe, and it's highly discouraged.

Instead of DIY dental procedures, kindly consult your dentist to know what options you have if you are worried about the appearance of your teeth.

Babies and gappy teeth; Is it normal?

Babies will always be babies! How? They will always have gaps between their teeth. Most importantly, in this phase, the jaws are tender and may develop faster than the teeth. Diastema may also show up naturally when there is a combination of adult and milk teeth.

In a situation where after jaw and teeth has fully grown and you still havea diastema, consulting your dentist for best advice can help you fix it.

Post braces and still gappy? What can be done?

Braces are meant to realign the teeth and improve the smile of patients with crooked teeth. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your braces work, kindly see the dentist or orthodontist who performed the procedure. Don't forget to always wear your retainers based on your dentist's advice. Retainers keep your teeth stable and immobile.

Will I have diastema if I floss my teeth?

Flossing-induced diastema has no clearly defined reason. However, care should be taken during flossing as you might catch the gums by doing so. And this may trigger them to recede.

Need help with how best to floss your teeth? Reach out to us at our practice. Our qualified dental practitioners and hygienist will show you how to floss safely and properly. Get a dentist to examine your teeth if you are worried that gaps or gums are visible between your teeth. Who knows, it may be a sign or symptom of a pre-existing dental condition like gum disease.

Do I get bigger gaps as I age?

Naturally, the older you get, the more your teeth position changes and enamel erodes. This could account for why diastema becomes more pronounced with age. In time to come, it is possible to correct gaps between teeth with braces. In the meantime, consult your dentist to check your teeth and be certain that movement is not triggered by gum disease.

What's the duration of braces treatment for diastema?

How long depends on how much movement of the teeth is needed to correct the condition. 3 months may be the shortest period braces can be used to fix gappy teeth. More severe cases requiring complex work will take more time than this. Fortunately, your orthodontist has the expertise to evaluate your dental condition and proffer the right treatment.

Conclusion

Unlike other forms of malocclusion, gappy teeth shouldn't be a source of worry as medically it is not so bad. Just like every dental problem, an underlying health condition may cause gaps in your teeth, be it in front or other parts of your teeth. The first smart solution has always been to see your dentist for proper examination. They are more qualified to tell you how your mouth condition looks.

Diastema correction is a bit straightforward. Any need for traditional braces here? Not at all. However, clear braces like Invisalign can come in handy depending on your dentist's recommendation. Also, keep in mind that invisible aligners require an eligibility check before usage. Go for Invisalign assessment at your dentist's.

For small gappy teeth issues where complex treatment isn't necessary, you can get an at-home Invisalign kit such as the Straight My Teeth's aligners. You can get one for just £999. On the other hand, veneers can also be effective in covering up small gaps between teeth.

Are you concerned that your growing children have diastema? This should not be a bother. If you take your mind back, you'll notice that even you as an adult once had gappy teeth as a baby. But presently, your teeth are aligned and beautiful. A natural occurrence like gaps between teeth can repair itself at the time of growing adult teeth.

Need professional help?

Since you now know what it means to have gaps between your teeth, there is no reason to be worried about the small or large gaps you have. Using any of the treatment options listed here, you can find a way out of diastema. If you don't like the sight of gappy teeth at all, go ahead and consult your dentist for correction. Remember, they have been trained and know what works best for your case. The outcome of your treatment depends quite largely on them.

It's not a hard thing to get a good dentist. Here at our practice, there are professional orthodontists and dentists with the license and experience to treat diastema. From a thorough diagnosis to proper treatment recommendation, you are sure to see improvements in your condition.

For dental assessment and possible treatment, feel free to book an appointment with us today.  Do we treat other malocclusions other than gappy teeth? Absolutely! Our solutions to other dental worries are unparalleled. We would be glad to speak with you and know how much we can help you. Don't hesitate to give us a call soon on 020 37457520. We are all about improving the condition of your oral health.

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