Gap teeth go by the medical term, "diastema." This condition affects up to 25% of people. However, the extent varies widely. Some may have significant gaps in the front teeth; others may have gaps between all the teeth, and so on.
Gaps n the teeth in the lower jaw are known as, "mandibular diastema," and gaps in the upper jaw are median or midline diastema. Some new mothers might feel concerned if they see their baby has gaps in their teeth. However, that's normal, and the teeth are still in the early stages of development.
As children lose their milk teeth and grow their adult teeth, they fill in the gaps naturally. However, in some cases, the gaps don't close. Instead, the palate or jaw may experience abnormal growth, resulting in teeth gaps.
Some people are fine with the gaps in their teeth, and they take it as part of their look. However, many people turn to orthodontists to help them close the gaps and improve their smile.
What Is the Cause of Teeth Gaps?
There are various causes of diastema. One of the main issues causing the problem is mismatching between the jaw and teeth.
Spacing increases due to poor alignment of the teeth if the teeth are too small for the jaw. Teeth gap might also be a genetic condition, and if one of your parents has gaps, you have a hereditary issue.
Other causes of the condition include infants or young children sucking their thumb. Tongue thrusting is also another issue, along with poor dental hygiene and gum disease.
How Do You Close the Gaps in Your Teeth?
Each case is different, requiring a customized solution for the best results. If you have large gaps between your teeth, it's best to start by visiting your dentist for a checkup and their opinion on your options.
Braces for Gap Teeth
Braces are always the first option to close the gaps in your teeth. An orthodontist will consult with you and build a treatment plan around your needs. You have two options for braces – Traditional braces or Invisalign aligners.
With traditional braces, the orthodontist glues tracks to your teeth and manipulates the teeth using steel wires. The process takes many months of checkups and adjustments until you start to see progress. In severe gap cases, you could end up with braces for up to 36-months.
Braces are expensive, and they aren't always the best option. Walking around with metal braces can get your child teased and picked on by other kids because they look different. The cost is also astronomical, with treatment being anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000, depending on the extent of the work.
Invisalign – The Invisible Alignment Solution
If you're looking for an alternative to braces, then ask your dentist or ortho about Invisalign. This orthodontic technology is taking the top spot over braces as the preferred orthodontic solution.
Instead of metal braces, you receive two sets of customized mouthpieces for your upper and lower jaw. The aligners pull your teeth into the desired position, providing the same functionality as braces.
You can remove the aligners whenever you like, and they feature construction with a clear BPA-free plastic. After a brief break-in period, you'll find it easy to talk wearing your aligners, and the entire treatment process lasts between 6 to 8-months.
Invisalign is slightly more affordable than traditional braces, due to fewer visits to the ortho's office. However, you can expect to pay between $4,500 to $6,000 for your treatment.
Other At-Home Gap Teeth Alignment Solutions
SmileDirectClub – With SDC, you have the option of an at-home orthodontic solution. With this service, you send in impressions of your teeth. You also have the option of going for a scan at one of the near 400 SmileShops across the country.
SDC sends your data to a professional ortho that designs a set of aligners, like the Invisalign concept. This solution is effective and affordable. The total for the treatment is $1,895, which is a fraction of the cost of Invisalign or traditional braces.
However, there's no dental supervision, and it's not a good choice for those individuals with severe gaps in their teeth. Always consult with your orthodontist or dentist before registering for these services. However, if you qualify, it will save you thousands on your orthodontic treatment.