Tooth Gap

How Do You Fix It?

There are several ways to fix a tooth gap. Here we’ll explain four different methods, and the pros and cons.

If the space between the teeth is relatively small, we would recommend fixing it with tooth bonding. With tooth bonding, the surface to be bonded is roughened slightly and composite is placed on the tooth and shaped and colored by the cosmetic dentist. The procedure can be completed in about an hour or so, and it looks absolutely natural, there is no grinding away of the tooth, and if it is shaped properly, it is very healthy.

On the right is a set of photographs of a tooth gap treated with composite bonding. The procedure took an hour, and it looks very natural. These teeth were also bleached before the bonding was done.

If you have the space treated with this technique, it is especially important to have it done by an expert cosmetic dentist. This work is done freehand, and requires artistry, a strong knowledge of composite bonding materials, and meticulous attention to detail.

large tooth gap before bonding
after tooth gap was closed with dental bonding
Closed gap
A larger gap presents different problems. It can be so large that, if it is merely filled with composite bonding material, the front teeth will be so large that it will look unnatural. To get the case to look right, several teeth need to be reshaped, which may require porcelain veneers. On the left is a case done by Dr. David Frey of Beverly Hills, California. Notice how the outside edges of the front teeth are reshaped and the other teeth are shaped so that the final result looks natural. Porcelain veneers are a more aggressive and more expensive treatment than direct bonding, but in this case, that’s the best way to go.

A third way to fix a tooth gap would be with braces. If the teeth are moved closer together, then that takes care of any spaces between them. The advantage of braces is that there is nothing artificial that is left attached to the teeth, so there is nothing to wear out, and therefore it is also theoretically healthier. Disadvantages would include the cost, the time of treatment (it would take at least several months to close a medium-sized space between your front teeth, and maybe up to two years), and the discomfort of wearing braces. Besides this, there is the likelihood of relapse–in this type of case the teeth have a strong tendency to want to return to their original positions.

A variation of this third way would be with Invisalign invisible braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic aligners that you pop in your mouth like a bleaching tray and people can’t tell that you’re wearing it. There are other brands of invisible braces, but Invisalign is the most popular. This is faster than conventional braces, but will be more expensive.

Here’s a discussion on whether dental insurance might cover this procedure of closing a space between your front teeth.

There is a company called “Teeth Gap” that sells rubber bands on the Internet as a technique for closing a gap. Read Dr. Hall’s warnings about this “Teeth Effects” product. This could seriously harm your teeth.