Big Gap in Your Front Teeth? Why & What to Do

Big Gap in Your Front Teeth? Why & What to Do
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Big Gap in Your Front Teeth? Why & What to DoClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. What Causes the Gaps?
  2. Gap Complications
  3. Treatment Options
  4. FAQs
  5. References

Doctors call a gap between your front teeth a diastema. You may have been born with it, or you may have done something early in life (like sucking your thumb) that pushed your teeth apart.

No matter what caused it, you can fix a front tooth gap. Treatment options include the following:

  • Bonding
  • Veneers
  • Surgery
  • Braces
  • Aligners

The larger the gap, the more money you'll spend to fix it. And the longer your treatment plan will take.

What Causes the Gaps?

Researchers say some people have genes that lead to gap-toothed smiles. If your parents, grandparents, and siblings all have gaps, you're likely to face the same issue.

But you can cause a gap (or make an existing one worse) through three habits30498-4/fulltext):

  1. Sucking your thumb: Tiny children who pop their fingers, toes, and thumbs in their mouths can push their teeth forward and apart.
  2. Pushing your teeth with your tongue: Swallow, and watch the way your mouth moves. If your tongue presses the back of your front teeth, they can move forward and apart.
  3. Ignoring dental health: Gums help to hold your teeth in place. If you avoid brushing and flossing, bacteria colonies can flourish and allow your teeth to move.

Gap Complications You Should Understand

Each smile looks a little different. Teeth come in different shapes and sizes, and yours is uniquely your own. If you have a gap, you may choose to embrace it, but you should understand the risks.

An untreated diastema can lead to the following:

  • Teasing: While you might love your smile, hurtful outsiders might make comments about how you look.
  • Discomfort: If the space between your teeth is particularly wide, sharp foods can poke your gums and cause bleeding.
  • Awkward eating: It's hard to bite through sandwiches and other foods when your teeth don't align. And your gap can allow fluids to shoot from your mouth.
  • Increased dental care requirements: You must keep your teeth clean to avoid bacterial attacks. You might need special brushes and appliances to address your gap.

Front Tooth Gap Treatment Options

What's the best way to fix a gap between your teeth? Five treatment types exist, and they all come with advantages and disadvantages.

Best for Gaps That AreTreatment TimeCost
BondingSmall1 visitAround $300
VeneersModerate1 or 2 visitsUp to $2,500 per tooth
SurgerySmall1 visit plus recovery time$250 to $1,200, depending on the dentist
BracesSevereAbout 2 years$5,000 to $6,000
AlignersSmall or moderateAbout 4 monthsAbout $2,000

Bonding

Your dentist applies a small amount of tooth-colored materials to each front tooth. As the layers build up, the gap closes.

How to Fix Big Gap in Front Teeth

Benefits of this method:

  • Speed: You're done in just one visit.
  • Comfort: Skip pain associated with braces and surgery.
  • Cost: Pay an average of $300 for the work.

Drawbacks of this method:

  • Color: Drink plenty of coffee or tea, and your bonded material can shift from white to orange.
  • Fragility: Your bonds can chip or crack.
  • Persistence: If an underlying health condition (like tissue between your teeth) causes the gap, it will return or worsen.

Veneers

Your dentist glues tooth-colored shells to the front of your teeth and cements them in place. Choose porcelain versions that last for years, or opt for resin versions that cost a bit less.

Benefits of this method:

  • Speed: You're done in one or two visits.
  • Comfort: Your teeth won't move, so veneers are generally less painful than braces or aligners.
  • Appearance: If the teeth next to your gapped versions are also chipped or discolored, treat them with veneers too.

Drawbacks of this method:

  • Cost: The better the veneer material, the more expensive the work will become. Some people pay $2,500 per tooth for veneers.
  • Damage: Your dentist must remove tooth enamel to apply veneers. Your enamel will not grow back.
  • Staining: Resin veneers can stain if you drink wine, tea, coffee, or other pigmented drinks.
  • Replacements: Veneers can chip and crack. If they do, you'll pay for replacement versions.

Tissue Removal

Sometimes, the tissue between your teeth causes a gap. Removing this excess tissue can give your teeth the freedom to move closer together. Dentists call this a frenectomy, and it could give your teeth space to come together.

Benefits of this method:

  • Speed: You're done in just one visit, but you will need a few weeks of recovery time.
  • Medical necessity: Added gum tissue allows pockets of bacteria to grow. Your dentist could suggest that your surgery is required, which could mean your health insurance covers it.

Drawbacks of this method:

  • Risk: While added gum tissue can push teeth apart, removing it won't necessarily encourage them to come together. You may need another procedure to improve your smile.
  • Staging: If you need another tooth-straightening appliance (like aligners), you might need them before your frenectomy.
  • Pain: Gums are filled with nerve endings. Scraping them away hurts.
  • Cost variance: The price varies widely from dentist to dentist.

Braces

Metal wires attached to metal brackets pull your teeth into proper alignment. Visit your orthodontist periodically for checkups, and they’ll clip your wire to make it shorter. Skip those appointments, break off brackets, or otherwise harm your appliances, and you'll significantly increase your treatment time.

Benefits of this method:

  • Severity: If you have a large space between your teeth, and other teeth in your mouth are crooked, this approach is best. You'll get all of the help you need.
  • Supervision: An orthodontist manages your care in a series of appointments. If something goes wrong, your doctor is there to help.

Drawbacks of this method:

  • Cost: Prepare to pay $5,000 to $6,000 for standard metal braces. Opt for fancy versions (like ceramic brackets or lingual braces that sit behind your teeth), and you will pay more.
  • Time: Spend an average of two years in treatment.
  • Pain: Moving teeth hurts, and brackets can tear at soft tissues in your mouth.
  • Inconvenient: You must keep your appointments, and your dental hygiene routine will take longer too.

Aligners

Plastic trays coat your teeth, and you swap out old ones for new versions on a schedule set by your doctor. Work with Byte, and a doctor manages your care while you're at home.

Benefits of this method:

  • Effective: Mild-to-moderate gaps can be addressed with aligners.
  • Supervision: A doctor manages every step of the process.
  • Cost: Aligners are much less expensive than braces. Byte treatment costs about $2,000.
  • Cleanliness: Take out your aligners to brush and care for your teeth.

Drawbacks of this method:

  • Not always suitable: Aligners can't fix big gaps or other severe issues.
  • Discomfort: You'll feel pain for a few days each time you change trays.
  • Time: Prepare to spend about four months in treatment.

Big Gap in Front Teeth FAQs

How can I fix the gap between my front teeth?
Bonding, veneers, surgery, braces, and aligners can all fix gaps between front teeth.
How can I close the gap between my teeth naturally?
There are no DIY or natural methods safe to use on gapped teeth. You must work with an oral health professional to do the job right.
How much does it cost to fix a gap between front teeth?
Costs vary between $300 and $6,000, depending on the method you choose, the severity of your gap, and the professional you're working with.

References

Familial Correlations and Heritability of Maxillary Midline Diastema. (January 2003). American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Effect of Maxillary Median Diastema on the Esthetics of a Smile30498-4/fulltext). (October 2020). American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

The Average Cost of Braces. (January 2022). ValuePenguin. 

Frequently Asked Questions. Byte.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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