How do I get rid of my tooth gap?
October 18, 2005 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Can I minimize the gap between my two front teeth without braces?

I probably brought this on myself as a kid, sticking toothpicks in between my two front teeth. It's not bad and it's not like I have buckteeth, and quite honestly, I never notice it anymore unless I think about it. But it is still a pretty sizeable gap and one that I'd like to get rid of for purely vain reasons.

At 21 years of age, I have no interest in getting braces. I don't need to straighten out all my teeth. I'd just like to push my two top front teeth a bit closer together and that's it.

Are there any options to do this other than braces? If there aren't, then I'll just live with it for the rest of my life.
posted by BradNelson to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Look into cosmetic dentistry. Your dentist should have suggestions. In the meantime, try this thread at FAQ Farm.
posted by acoutu at 8:49 PM on October 18, 2005

are your wisdom teeth out yet? because if they are not, there's still hope for that gap in the front teeth. mine disappeared thanks to my wisdom teeth coming out.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:04 PM on October 18, 2005

Yes, my wisdom teeth are out and have been out for almost 2 years.

From what I've been able to find, I might be able to get some bands or something to pull them together, but any first-hand experience would be appreciated.
posted by BradNelson at 9:07 PM on October 18, 2005

Seconding talking to a cosmetic dentist (who is not an orthodontist, and thus who won't use braces). Basically you'd be looking at crowns/veneers that would make those teeth a bit wider. Crowns aren't cheap and they're not a cakewalk -- I've got two (structural, not cosmetic) molar crowns and my teeth were a bit sensitive to pressure for the first few months and I still have the odd bad day a year later and they only last around a decade or so.

That said, my father just did braces at 52. You couldn't see the clear plastic unless you were closer than conversational distance, just so you know it's not all about wireface anymore.
posted by mendel at 9:13 PM on October 18, 2005

I had bonding (cosmetic dentistry) done where they filled in the gap for me. The dentist told me at the time that it would have to be redone in 3 years. It has been 10+ years now and they still look great.

Prior to the bonding I had multiple sets of braces. I also had surgery where they clipped the skin between my teeth. Neither of the two worked permanently for me.
posted by rdurbin at 9:16 PM on October 18, 2005

I've had veneers since I was 13, and am only now thinking about replacing them in my early thirties.

I've been really happy with them - I had braces which were not working, so I'm happy the veneers work.

Having said that, I'm nervous about getting them replaced (what if my original dentist was just very good at his job), and it did change the way I speak.
posted by ugf at 9:35 PM on October 18, 2005

I had braces, didn't wear the retainers, and got the bonding after that.

Dentist said they last 20 years, must be at least ten so far.

No problems, feels just like real teeth, go for it, braces suck.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:57 PM on October 18, 2005

also had the surgery rdurbin talked about, didn't do anything. Bonding is the answer.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:59 PM on October 18, 2005

I always heard that a gap between the two front teeth was lucky. According to xiang mian, the Chinese version of face reading, it means:

" are a risk taker and a dare devil. But you have a habit of changing your mind because you lack a clear sense of direction."

BTW, one of the reasons I thought my husband was so cute when I first met him was the gap between his front teeth. I think there must be a few other people out there who also find this unique feature rather attractive.
posted by Liosliath at 10:04 PM on October 18, 2005

Thank you lios, my parents subjected me to the medieval torture that is braces on the firm promise that fixing it would help me get girls. I knew it was a lie.

(they were kind of off angle, which is not good looking, but the bonding can fix that without years of pain)

Seriously, if the spanish inquisition had the technology at the time they would have used braces on people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:09 PM on October 18, 2005

My friend has a retainer for this purpose - she wears it at night some of the time. It works pretty well when she can be bothered.
posted by fionab at 10:27 PM on October 18, 2005

The least expensive option is a bonding with composite material and formation of natural looking front teeth. These are usually good for 3-5 years, however others get lucky and they can last much longer (like rdurbin above). The downside: bite into an apple and they can be gone in a month. Shade matching can be tricky, but most dentists are good about doing it over until they get it right and you are happy. The eventual shade cannot really be seen for a couple of weeks, but materials are getting better.

posted by Independent Scholarship at 10:52 PM on October 18, 2005

Please don't fix it, gap toothed men are adorable.
posted by cali at 11:02 PM on October 18, 2005

Please don't fix it, gap toothed men are adorable.

I'm very tempted to mark this as the "best answer."

I certainly don't intend to get it done in the immediate future, and like I said, it's purely a vanity thing. But maybe it's not worth the money or the hassle...
posted by BradNelson at 11:12 PM on October 18, 2005

Do not worry about eating apples if you get the bonds. I've had them for ten years. They look exactly like real teeth and don't break. (I've eaten a million apples)

You will forget you even have them, this is not anything like dentures where you need to be careful.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:13 PM on October 18, 2005

Do, in fact, worry about eating apples if you get the bonds. I had them for less than a year before they broke off.

They have to grind off a good deal of your real tooth to put those bonds on, you know. And when they break off and need replacing, they have to grind off even more of the real tooth. Now I don't trust biting into anything solid; I terribly regret that I ever let the dentist talk me into it.

Some people are lucky with them, apparently. I wouldn't gamble with it -- there's no substitute for real, actual teeth.
posted by ook at 11:32 PM on October 18, 2005

hmmm, never heard of anyone having problems. Guess this is something you should talk to your dentist about.

(but don't let him talk you into braces, please)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:14 AM on October 19, 2005

My friend had a gap in his front teeth and had a small sliver of plastic custom made by the dentist which filled the gap.
posted by fire&wings at 3:38 AM on October 19, 2005

I was very disappointed when my dad fixed the gap between his top two front teeth. I guess it tortured him his whole life, but I thought it gave him character. I had the same gap until my adult teeth came in.

At 60 he didn't want braces either, so they just bonded the gap. You could fit maybe 2 or 3 quarters stacked together between those two teeth.
posted by xyzzy at 3:57 AM on October 19, 2005

Another vote for not fixing it! Lauren Hutton! The cute David from Kids in the Hall! Vince Lombardi! You're not going to tell Muhammad Ali that gap teeth aren't lucky and cute, are ya?
posted by mimi at 5:26 AM on October 19, 2005

As a teenager wanting to look just like everyone else, I hated having a gap. But then I realized that it really didn't have a negative affect on my appearance, and that having that extra bit of distinctive-lookingness could be advantageous. Just get to like it.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:39 AM on October 19, 2005

you CAN push your own teeth back into place in certain limited situations. i sucked my thumb until about age 9. (yeah yeah...) this gave me buck teeth with a slight gap. the family dentist said i would certainly need braces. my great-uncle was a dentist in the navy, and he told my parents that i should just push gently on my top front teeth for a while every day. (thumb tucked under chin, fingers bent into a fist, first knuckle of first finger against the teeth.) i did it while riding the school bus (surreptitiously) and while reading - maybe 45 minutes per day? within 6-8 months my buck teeth had become perfect teeth, and the family dentist said there was no need for braces. your mileage may vary.
posted by chr1sb0y at 5:54 AM on October 19, 2005

ask your dentist/orthodontist about invisalign?
posted by geeky at 7:42 AM on October 19, 2005

My orthodontist tried all sorts of things to pull my gappy front teeth together. Then he looked at my xrays, and realized that the roots of my front teeth are actually wider than the teeth themselves were -- basically rendering orthodontics futile. Lesson here: X-ray evaluation is a good first step that might save you money later.

I got them bonded not long after that, and fortunately I've been one of the 20-years-and-counting people. My current dentist has told me that had I come in with the same problem in this day and age, they would probably have recommended just living with it -- for some reason, they really frown on bonding. I didn't ask why since it's largely academic at this point, but I'd be curious if anyone knows the answer.
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:49 AM on October 19, 2005

I got a veneer for a different reason (very tired slip in the bathroom knocked part of a tooth out... ouch!) and would strongly recommend a more reversable procedure. With a veneer, they actually shave off healthy tooth. I had nightmares for years from the procedure, which left me with an imperfect (though not noticeable to others) difference in shade between my two front teeth. General rule: use the least invasive procedure possible, particularly on healthy parts of you.
posted by lorrer at 7:52 AM on October 19, 2005

I've got bondings on both the top and bottom pairs of front teeth (4 total).

The bottom teeth were chipped in two seperate incidents in the span of 6 weeks, bonding was the repair. On top I originally had a gap of hillbilly redneck hick proportions plus a small chip on one side. The top teeth had bondings applied to fix the chip and about 3/5s close the gap. They didn't close the gap all the way because I would have ended up looking like a beaver. I had the original work for 15 years and they were redone last year not because of failure but because they were worn down.

I've been told the new stuff is good enough that I'll probably only need them redone in the year before retirement so that insurance will pay.
posted by Mitheral at 8:53 AM on October 19, 2005

I got braces at the age of 22, and I got them off less than a year later. It wasn't nearly as bad as when I had them as a kid. I got them because one of my front teeth had popped right out, giving me (nearly) two stacked teeth. Now I have normal-looking teeth, and I'm happy with 'em.
posted by waldo at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2005

Well, it sounds like there are some good options besides braces, but bonding seems a bit extreem. I'd rather have all real teeth.

Ultimately, for a poor college student like myself, my best bet may be to just let them be...especially if the ladies dig them...
posted by BradNelson at 9:37 AM on October 19, 2005

I have a gap and I have been told by many that it's "endearing", "cute", or "indicitive of a good person". I think the reasoning for that last statement is that if you can make it through life with a gap (not getting it fixed, that is), then you're probably pretty ok with yourself/ not superficial.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:38 AM on October 19, 2005

The Teeth Gap rubberbands seems like a good low-budget, low-tech way to do it. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone that's tried that particular technique.

However, like Chr1sb0y, I can attest that one can move one's own teeth. My husband was able to push back his buck teeth by merely applying pressure to them periodically throughout the day and now they honestly look perfect. Of course your results may vary but the low-tech way ended up saving us a ton of money.
posted by peppermint22 at 10:11 AM on October 19, 2005

My gap was fixed when I was a kid with a removable retainer only, no braces.
posted by RoseovSharon at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2005

As an aid in any research you're doing, the condition is referred to as diastema
posted by Neiltupper at 1:23 PM on October 19, 2005

I've been doing Invisalign for that sam reason and will vouch for it. It's not uncomfortable, you take it off for meals or special occasions (although it really is darned near invisible). My dental insurance covered it.
posted by puddinghead at 3:21 PM on October 19, 2005

SAME reason.
posted by puddinghead at 3:22 PM on October 19, 2005

I am of the gapped persuasion and I would never change it - the ladies have always loved it.

Take a stand AGAINST cosmetic dentistry, my gap-toothed friend!
posted by sluggo at 7:19 PM on October 19, 2005

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