Gap teeth smile can make you feel uncomfortable unless you are confident as Eddie Murphy, Lauren Hutton, Madonna, and many others who take pride in their flawed smiles.
If celebrities are pulling it off well, it doesn’t mean you have to as well. There are multiple ways you can fix your gap teeth smile without going under the knife.
There are abundant cosmetic treatments that promise to give you a beautiful symmetrical smile to improve your overall appearance. This guide will figure causes of gap teeth and determine if they are genetic. Lastly, it will talk about effective treatments to close the gap.
5 Profound Facts about Gap Teeth Smile
- Gap teeth are the epitome of beauty
- The technical terminology of gap teeth is ‘diastema’
- Having an abnormally large tongue leads to gap teeth
- Gap teeth are hereditary
- Gap teeth have shifted the beauty standards and are considered unique
7 Causes of Gap Teeth
Following are some common reasons why people develop gapped teeth:
Mismatched Teeth and Jaw Size
Gap teeth smile often occurs when the size of the jaw and teeth don’t match each other. For instance, if a person’s teeth are too small than the size of the jaw, a gap occurs between the teeth.
“Teeth are not completely immobile like you might think–if there is pressure in one direction, the tooth will move that way,” says Paul Springs, DMD, of Dr. Mondshine.
“If you have a large jaw, or get a tooth extracted, that creates open space where there’s less pressure on the teeth. So, they move gradually to fill the space more evenly, which can lead to gaps,” Spring further explains.
Overgrowth of Gum Tissue
Another reason for gapped teeth is the overgrowth of tissues around the gum line and incisors (upper front teeth), causing the teeth to separate and form a gap.
Tongue Thrusting or Thumb Sucking
Oral habits like these can result in the disorientation of teeth, resulting in a wide gap between the front teeth. That said, habit appliances can prevent these behaviors and promote healthy growth of the teeth.
Swallowing patterns can greatly affect your teeth' orientation in the mouth. In a normal scenario, when a person swallows, he/she presses their tongue against the palate. However, those with incorrect swallowing pressed their tongue against the back of the front teeth. Hence, the gap occurs over time.
Missing or Undersized Teeth
Missing or undersized teeth disrupt the natural teeth alignment and therefore cause gap teeth.
This is a growth disorder of the teeth next to the incisors where the lateral incisors either don’t grow properly or are too small to fit into their allotted space; hence, gap forms on both sides.
Gum diseases are characterized by gum and tissue inflammation and cause tooth loss over time; hence, a void form between the teeth. Gum disorders are less common among young children. “Gum disease can cause tooth movement and that is very serious,” says Springs.
“If you suspect you have gum disease, it’s important to get treatment with your dentist because it can lead to irreversible bone and tooth loss and generally lead to unhealthy inflammation that affects your whole body,” Springs added.
Are Teeth Gaps Genetic?
While the above could be the possible causes for gapped teeth, tooth alignment problems are inherited or genetic in origin. Charles White, DDS, a Washington, D.C. dentist, believes that “gaps are hereditary,” and adds, “if both your parents had a gap, there is a strong chance you will have one too."
5 Treatment for Gap between Teeth
Dentists have multiple smile makeover options to fix the gap between your teeth and improve your smile. Here we have listed the ones with the highest success rate:
Even though braces are an old method for fixing gapped teeth, it has the highest success ratio compared to other methods. Also, nowadays, braces come in various types. For instance, you choose between the conventional wired or Invisalign braces.
If you want to go for an affordable option, wired braces would be your best choice. Your dentist will schedule periodic checkups for tightening the wires to eliminate the gaps.
Those who don’t feel comfortable wearing metal braces, like business professionals or adults, can opt for Invisalign braces. They are transparent, effective orthodontics that works faster than traditional braces.
Retainers are similar to braces and exert pressure on the teeth to pull them together. If you opt for retainers, note that you must put them on 24/7 for prominent results. While they are less invasive and easier to apply, they take longer than conventional and Invisalign braces.
Note that not everyone is eligible to wear retainers. They are typically prescribed to people who just got their braces removed to prevent the teeth from taking their previous position.
Dental implants are another type of smile makeover done to treat gapped teeth. The treatment entails placing a removable or fixed tooth (depending on your condition and choice) into the gum or bone.
Given the long-term benefits of this treatment, it has a success rate and is a popular treatment to fix a tooth gap or missing tooth. The implant is adjusted to the void area, filled, and makes your smile look fuller.
Composite bonding is the cheapest way to fix gap teeth smile. That said, it works only for minor gaps, meaning it won’t be effective for significant gaps. What composite filling does is fills the minor gaps making them disappear.
This treatment is typically recommended for people who have fractured or chipped teeth.
Dental crowns and veneers offer another non-invasive fix to treat gap teeth smile. For this treatment, dentists apply a thin porcelain layer directly onto the surface of the affected tooth, giving it the illusion of a gapless tooth.
So these were the most effective treatments for gapped teeth. While metal and Invisalign braces are our top recommended options to treat the problem faster, other methods like retainers and dental implants will be best for an aesthetically pleasing look.
Lastly, eligibility matters when getting gapped teeth fixed because not every treatment can be used on any patient. Your dentist will examine your condition before suggesting the best treatment for your case.
How to Smile with Gap Teeth?
While a gap teeth smile can make you look unusual or different, it is considered a sign of beauty in countries like Nigeria and Ghana. You can only smile confidently with gap teeth when you accept it and take pride in it.
There is nothing wrong with looking a bit unusual than others. Just acknowledge the fact that you are equally beautiful as other people with other forms of imperfections.
Is Gap Teeth a Sign of Beauty?
Apart from the United States, many countries around the globe celebrate gapped teeth. As said previously, Nigerians believe that gapped teeth are a sign of ‘beauty and luck’ whereas in West Africa, it symbolizes wealth.
French refers to gapped teeth as “dents du bonheur,” meaning “lucky teeth.” Even mythological characters, mermaids, have been described with captivating gapped teeth.
Modern dentistry has a fix for everything about your smile you dislike. All you have to do is make up your mind about what you want, and the rest will be taken care of.
If you have a gap teeth smile, talk to your dentist about the options to fix them shortly.