Question: I have a fairly large gap between my front teeth. Please could you advise as to the best form of treatment to close this gap and give me the kind of straight, even smile I’ve always wanted. Answer: There are many factors which can lead towards people feeling less than happy with the way their smile looks. Wanting to have a smile you can be proud of is something which is both natural and, as dentistry techniques advance ever further, increasingly achievable. Whilst some people may feel that their teeth aren’t white enough, or that one or more individual teeth have become damaged and unsightly, your problem is one which orthodontists often find themselves dealing with.
To explain, orthodontists are people who deal with the position of the teeth, and with shifting this position until it is just as it should be. Often, this means dealing with teeth which are crooked, overcrowded or overlapping or, as is the case here, teeth which are simply too far apart. Whilst a certain gap between the front teeth may be ignored, or written off as a personal foible and quirk, if this gap is too large then it simply has to be dealt with. In the first place, a large gap of this nature might actually appear to be a gap caused by a missing tooth, and secondly, the fact that the top and bottom rows of teeth aren’t matching can have a detrimental effect upon the way they meet and can get in the way of a properly even bite. The good news for you, however, is the fact the treatments used to bring about effective teeth straightening have moved on in leaps and bound in recent years, up to the point wherein the methods used can fairly be called unobtrusive and convenient.
In the past, having your teeth shifted meant asking your orthodontist to fit fairly obtrusive metal braces. These would consist of brackets cemented to the enamel of the teeth followed by thin metal wires being stretched between these brackets. As the wires were tightened, the teeth would gradually move until they were shifted to the correct position. Whilst undoubtedly effective, however, braces such as these did have undeniable drawbacks.
The first of these drawbacks was the fact that metal braces tended to be uncomfortable to wear, to the extent of sometimes actually causing pain and of having a detrimental effect upon the patients speaking voice. On top of this was the fact that they were visually somewhat unappealing. Whilst braces were clearly a necessary and effective form of treatment, the fact that they looked so obtrusive was often enough, in itself, to put people off using them.
Luckily, things have moved on since then, and a modern clinic will be able to offer lighter, less obtrusive braces, sometimes even fitting them to the back of the teeth in question. Even better than this, however, is the Invisalign system of braces. This is a treatment referred to as ‘invisible braces’ and this description, whilst sounding extreme, is actually fairly accurate.
The braces in question are custom made retainers constructed from lightweight, transparent plastic. Not only are they easy to slide on and off the teeth, but they are so slight that other people won’t know you’re wearing them unless you choose to tell them. By replacing them with a new set every two weeks or so, you’ll gradually shift the position of your teeth until the gap you’re unhappy with has been closed completely. Moving a patients teeth into the correct position is something which orthodontists have been able to do for many years. The latest technology, however, means that they can do it using a treatment which will have the minimum effect upon your personal and professional life, whilst still getting the job done to the maximum degree.