When people first plan to fix gaps between their teeth to get a beautiful smile, they hear about braces. But, many questions arise in their mind as braces may take a long time, such as, “Do braces close gaps in teeth?
Braces can close any types of gaps between teeth effectively including small or large and single or multiple teeth gaps. To close the gaps, braces use the tension of the wires and pull teeth together. Special attachments such as power chains and springs are also used for this.
In this article, we will discuss how to braces close gaps between teeth and how long it may take depending on the size of gaps and severity.
When can braces close gaps between teeth?
Whether braces close gaps between teeth depends on the factors such as the size of the gap, cause of the gap, and association of other related orthodontic problems.
Here are the circumstances when braces can close gaps between teeth.
Closing a small gap may be the easiest work that the braces can do. It can be closed faster with braces within a few months.
But, keep in mind that you have to wear braces on all the teeth to get the perfect smile because moving a tooth a little bit will change your bite and cause TMJ problems and other dental issues.
You may have a small gap from childhood or for missing extra teeth or gum problems.
Spacing between almost all teeth is a very common condition. If you have the same issue, you should have braces to fix all the gaps. But, why?
Shifting so many teeth to a new position changes your bite and braces can align teeth properly and correct bite after the closure of gaps. So, it’s perfect for you.
Gaps between front teeth
You may have a gap between the upper front teeth because of one of the following reasons.
- A thick extension of gum tissue called the abnormal labial frenum
- Thumb sucking habit
- Tongue thrusting habit
Question is, can braces close gaps in front teeth?
Braces close gaps between front teeth by putting pressure on teeth with wires and elastic and moving them towards the gap. An orthodontist treats the abnormal labial frenum and helps break habits that are responsible for gaps or misaligned teeth and attach braces to close the gaps and align teeth properly.
In fact, if you consider other treatment options, you might not get the benefits in the long run.
Spacing with protruded upper teeth
Gaps in teeth can be associated with protruded upper teeth or an excess horizontal overbite. This type of condition can be corrected with braces.
Gaps due to tooth removal for braces
When the orthodontist suggests tooth removal for braces, the gaps get closed after the end of the treatment. So, if you have your first molar or premolar extracted for braces, you shouldn’t worry much.
Spacing after removal of extra teeth
We know we all have 32 teeth in our jaw. But, sometimes people have an extra tooth. Even though you have 29 teeth, you might have a tooth that’s different from the usual teeth. We call it supernumerary tooth or supplemental tooth.
If it’s your condition, you can get it fixed with braces. After removal of the extra tooth, braces can perfectly close the gaps and give you natural smile.
Gaps with tooth misalignment
Sometimes, there are other teeth malocclusions present with gaps. Braces can help you fix all these problems and make your teeth properly aligned.
Gaps with minor jaw bone problem
Abnormal jawbones may also be presented with gaps in some people. Braces can not only be helpful to close the gaps but also fix jaw bone problems. However, severe skeletal problems need other treatment options.
How long does a tooth gap take to close with braces?
Braces can move a tooth approximately 1 mm in a month and so you can expect to close 1 mm in a month with braces after getting them tightened. So, large gaps will need more time while small gaps require less time to close. However, the duration depends on other factors such as the severity of cases and individual variation.
How long do you need braces for gaps between teeth?
Braces can close gaps between your teeth in 6-8 months depending on the size of the gaps. However, you may need to wear braces from 12 to 18 months to close gaps completely, correct the bite and align all teeth perfectly. Besides, all cases are different and duration varies from case to case.
Here are the factors that affect the duration of wearing braces to fix gaps between teeth.
Size of gaps
Duration to a close gap between your teeth depends on its size. Larger the size of the gaps, the more it will take time.
Cause of the gap
How long the gap will take to be closed depends on the cause of its origin. If it’s present from childhood it may take less time.
On the other hand, if it’s due to a missing tooth after tooth extraction or an accident it will take more time.
However, it also depends on the treatment option that you or your dentist choose.
Age of individual
Gaps of a young individual take less time to be closed whereas adults may need more time.
Related orthodontic problems
If gaps are present with other orthodontic problems such as misaligned teeth or jaw bone abnormalities, the duration to fix the gap will be increased.
Sometimes, gaps may not be the only problem even if you think you have no other problems. Some people have an abnormal overbite or overjet.
Moreover, while closing the gaps between teeth, the orthodontist has to align the teeth properly so that you can have a functional and proper bite.
So, the duration of fixing the gaps will also vary depending on these factors.
Closing tabs with braces need a lot of discipline. Patients need to follow all the advice of the orthodontist to get a better result. But if you aren’t able to do that, gaps will be closed slowly.
Bad oral habits
As patients need to maintain the braces to move the teeth properly and close those gaps, bad oral habits may interfere with the progress of treatment and therefore delay the outcome.
Dental and gum health
Patients who have good dental and gum health can expect a faster outcome whereas patients with poor oral health should expect a slower outcome in case of closing gaps between teeth.
Treatment planning varies from case to case because each case is different. So, duration also varies.
How do braces close gaps between teeth?
Braces close gaps between teeth with help wires, brackets, and power chains or springs. When these are attached to the teeth and force is applied, braces use the tension of the wires or elastics to pull the teeth together. Then, gradually teeth are aligned properly and gaps are closed.
When pressure is applied on your teeth using wire through new braces, different changes occur within the bones of the teeth. This leads to movement of the teeth.
However, the force should always be within a normal range, otherwise, it may damage your teeth. An orthodontist always puts an ideal force to create these movements.
The orthodontist may also use special attachments such as power chains or springs to put additional force on the teeth to close the gaps.
You can also check out my other article on when and how the orthodontist uses a power chain and springs to move teeth.
However, closing gaps also need other treatments such as bite correction and teeth alignment.
When your teeth move to close those gaps, they need to be aligned properly at the same time so that you can make an ideal bite and teeth function properly.
So, during orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist also uses different techniques and appliances to correct your bite and align your teeth properly.
Which types of braces can close gaps in teeth?
There are several types of braces that can help you close gaps in teeth. The basic functions of these braces are similar.
They work similarly to move the teeth in the desired position and fix the gaps. The only difference is cost and appearance.
You have to choose one option among them and let your orthodontist know. He will make a treatment plan and use braces for those gaps.
Following types of braces can fix gaps in teeth effectively.
Traditional metal braces
If esthetics are not your concern, you can choose traditional metal braces to close the gaps between your teeth. This is the most popular way by which you can fix those gaps.
Ceramic braces can close gaps perfectly and give you a beautiful smile. These are also very popular as they are aesthetically sound. They are transparent and people cannot notice easily if you wear these braces. But, the price is a little bit higher than those traditional metal braces.
Lingual braces are attached to the backside of your teeth. So they are all so aesthetically pleasing. Though the cost is high, lingual braces can also move your teeth and close those gaps nicely.
Clear aligners or Invisalign
Clear aligner or Invisalign is a little bit different from those traditional braces. They are removable and transparent.
So, they are not only aesthetically pleasant but also comfortable to use. Moreover, they can help fix gaps between teeth, the same as braces.
What if you don’t close gaps in teeth with braces?
Usually, people want to close gaps in teeth for aesthetic purposes. But, some gaps should be closed to prevent certain complications.
Gaps between teeth can weaken your dental or gum health. As food gets stuck in between teeth so easily, this may lead to gum disease or tooth decay.
Moreover, a portion of gum remains exposed all the time when there is a gap between teeth. So, biting too hard can damage that portion and result in gum diseases.
When can’t braces close gaps between teeth?
Here are the circumstances when you might have other planning rather than braces to fix gaps.
Extracted tooth due to poor tooth condition
When you don’t have malocclusion and you have a gap between teeth due to an extracted carious or weak tooth, braces may not be the treatment option for you. In that case, you have to plan to replace the missing tooth.
Missing tooth due to injury
When people lose one or more teeth due to an injury or an accident, they need to replace those teeth with other methods. In that case, people need to consult an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or conservative dentist.
Severe skeletal problems
Sometimes, if you not only have gaps between teeth but also have skeletal problems. If there is a severe jaw bone problem due to abnormal growth or development, then you may need other methods such as orthognathic surgery to correct all the problems.
Check out my other article to know how to close teeth gaps without braces.
Tips to close the gap fast with braces
Here are a few tips to close gaps between teeth fast with braces.
- Follow the orthodontist’s instructions properly.
- Wear elastic bands or power chains properly and regularly.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly following proper methods.
- Eat soft and braces-friendly food.
- Stay away from hard, sticky, and crunchy foods.
- Use ideal toothbrushes and flosses for braces.
- Don’t skip a visit with your orthodontist.
FAQ on braces and gaps
After applying the braces and tightening the wires, braces can move teeth up to 1 mm per month. So, by applying an ideal force to the teeth, braces can close 1 mm gaps per month.
Braces can close big gaps and make your tooth look natural with the help of power chains or springs. However, if the big gap is due to a missing tooth, you may need other treatment options such as an implant or bridge.
You can close a first molar gap with braces by moving the second molar toward its place. To do that, the orthodontist may take help from certain types of wires, elastics, or springs. However, before using braces, the dentist must determine whether braces are suitable for the case.
Usually, a gap should not be persisted between teeth after the treatment with braces. However, there are some rare cases where the gap may not be fully closed due to some reasons. In some severe cases, gaps may come back after a year or a few.
Braces are the most popular and effective method to close almost any type of gap between teeth. It will take 6-8 months to fix the gaps and 12-18 months to complete the treatment. You have to wear brackets, wires, elastics, and springs on your teeth during this treatment to close those gaps.