Dental Care

Gap Teeth and Popularity

You have plenty of company if you have “gap teeth” (called a diastema in the dental profession) because having a space between two or more of your teeth is a fairly common condition in both children and adults. 

However, you might want to consult your dentist if you or your child has a gap between two teeth because several things can cause a diastema, and not all of them should go untreated. 

Your dentist will be able to identify the cause of the space.  In some cases, the cause might be an orthodontic issue and you or your child might be sent to an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in using braces to correct certain problems with the teeth. 

In fact, whether or not your child has gap teeth, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be examined and evaluated by an orthodontist before turning seven years old. 

If your child does have diastema and braces are recommended to correct the situation, the orthodontist might suggest a short delay in treatment until your child's mouth and teeth are a bit more mature.  You'll need to discuss your child's treatment with the orthodontist.

On the other hand, your dentist might determine that periodontal disease is causing your diastema.  In that case, he or she might refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum disease.

A gap which is closed by means of orthodontic braces or crowns or porcelain veneers to widen the teeth will have a tendency to stay permanently closed. 

However, to prevent the possibility of your teeth gap reappearing after being corrected by braces, your orthodontist will instruct you to wear retainers

He or she might also attach the backs of the affected teeth to other, neighboring teeth through a process called splinting, which uses plastic and wire to prevent the corrected teeth from shifting in position.  You'll need to return to your dentist regularly to make sure your dental work remains in good condition and is continuing to do its job.

Optional Gap Teeth Treatment

Assuming your diastema is not cause by periodontal disease, correcting it might be an optional thing. 

When this is the case it would be understandable if you decide to avoid one to two years of wearing corrective orthodontic braces.  After all, even if you manage to get used to them, braces aren't very comfortable and they do affect your smile. 

You certainly wouldn't be the only person with gap teeth who's ever chosen to keep the gap.

In fact, as we mentioned earlier, you have a lot of company if you have a gap between your teeth.  Some of the world's most well-known celebrities have decided to keep their diastema. 

The list of famous people who have a diastema includes entertainers like David Letterman and Madonna, politicians such as Condoleezza Rice and even high-fashion models, including Lauren Hutton and Lara Stone, Calvin Klein's high profile model.

These celebrities certainly have enough money to get their gap closed, so why have they chosen to retain the space between their teeth?  In part it might be due to the way a gap-toothed smile is a bit quirky and more memorable than a smile featuring perfectly spaced, pearly white teeth.  But there might be more to it than that. 

Even the Wall Street Journal has detected a strong increase in the popularity of gap teeth.  This trend, which has been occurring since at least early 2009, has resulted in gap teeth being called one of "the most coveted attributes" a model could have.

So, what's behind the recent rise in the popularity of gap teeth?  One theory believes it's all about something called "authenticity."  In today's world of digitally enhanced photographs intended to create visual perfection, retaining a gap between the teeth is perceived as being "authentic." 

Everyone has some type of imperfection unless they've successfully corrected or covered it up, so finding the imperfect to be attractive is a way to demonstrate an attraction to the authentic. 

Today's younger generations are increasingly drawn to authenticity, originality and the imperfect because they represent such a contrast to artificial enhancements made during the quest for perfection.

Some people take the trend so strongly to heart they actually ask their orthodontist to insert a bracket between their teeth to open up an artificial gap! 

That might be taking things too far, but there's very little doubt that gap teeth have become a strong fashion statement and the world's current favorite facial flaw.


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