What can I do about the gaps in my teeth?


This is a common question in any orthodontic practice, along with questions about crooked teeth and teeth that stick out too far.

To decide what options we have to close your gaps, your orthodontist will have to find out why you have them in the first place.

Common causes of gaps in teenagers and adults

  • Small teeth
  • Funny shaped teeth
  • Missing teeth e.g. some people are not born with all of their teeth
  • Sticking out teeth often have gaps between them
  • Persistent thumb sucking causes teeth to stick out, often with gaps.

Does anything need to be done at all?

Some spacing can be accepted if it is only mild.

Spacing that is very noticeable tends to become more of an issue to people, especially if it combined with oddly-shaped teeth.

Your orthodontist will discuss whether treatment to close gaps will be of benefit to you in the long term. For teenagers, treatment may not be available under the NHS…if this is the case your orthodontist will explain the reasons why.

For younger children with “baby teeth”, gaps do not need to be treated. Children around the ages of 8 to 11 years often have gaps between their upper teeth which often close up on their own as the adult teeth come through.

If thumb sucking is one of the reasons for gaps, the habit will need to be kicked. Here are some tips on how and when thumb sucking should be stopped.

Treatments to close gaps

If you’ve decided that you want your gaps closed…what are the options for teenagers and adults?

  • Orthodontic treatment only

If spacing is mild to moderate and your teeth are around the correct size/ shape a course of brace treatment may be a good option.

Brace treatments allow gaps to be closed without resorting to veneers which may need adjustments to the enamel of your teeth and replacement over a lifetime.

BUT…you will need long term retention after your braces are removed…otherwise gaps reappear very quickly. Your orthodontist will be very careful to explain this fully before you start treatment.

  • Orthodontic treatment + Restorative dental treatment

Often we need the help of your dentist…orthodontics may not be the only answer!

Funny-shaped teeth may need to be veneered or crowned, missing teeth may even need to be replaced with bridgework or implants….usually after orthodontic treatment is completed.

We will be in close communication with your dentist if your treatment plan involves this kind of work.

  • Restorative treatment only

Sometimes orthodontic treatment is not needed at all….your dentist may be able to close your gaps with veneers, crowns, implants or bridgework.

This may be the case if  your teeth are small but are otherwise straight, or if gaps are only between your back teeth.

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net