Braces are a common orthodontic treatment method used to correct misaligned teeth and create straight smiles. However, it’s not uncommon for patients to notice gaps or spaces forming between their teeth during their brace journey. These gaps can be both confusing and frustrating as, for some patients, they seem to contradict the very purpose of the brace.
In this blog, we will answer the question, “Why are my braces causing gaps?” and explore the ways to fix them to achieve that dazzling smile we know you deserve:
Understanding the Orthodontic Process:
Before we delve into the reasons behind gap formation during orthodontic treatment, it will be helpful for you to understand the basics of how braces work. A traditional metal brace consists of small metal brackets bonded to the front surface of the teeth connected by a thin archwire. The brackets and wire simultaneously work together to exert a gradual pressure on the teeth to move them into their new desired positions. Ceramic braces and hidden lingual orthodontics function in a similar way.
Very few adults want braces, but they do want straight teeth and a healthy mouth. Braces are a fantastic teeth-straightening solution and can correct a number of dental misalignments, including crowding, overbites, spacing issues and more! But the journey to a perfect smile isn’t always straightforward.
Why Are My Braces Causing Gaps? Reasons for Gap Formation:
Patients of Orthodontics For You enjoy seeing for themselves how their teeth move and their smile improves. It provides reassurance and a glimpse of the end result. Nevertheless, there are occasions when patients feel the alignment of their teeth starts to worsen while wearing their brace. For example, some teeth begin to overlap, and sometimes gaps appear that weren’t there before the brace was fitted.
Don’t be alarmed – this is completely normal.
One analogy we tell patients to help them understand this process is to imagine themselves tidying a messy room in the house. Before they can clean one area, they need to move some of the mess to give themselves space to work from. Over time, as they shift things about, the entire room gradually becomes a lot tidier and everything straightens out.
It’s the same for straightening your teeth. When teeth are overcrowded the braces work to create space by shifting the teeth apart. This can temporarily result in gaps.
Another example would be how some patients’ teeth vary in size and shape. As their brace aligns their teeth, dental gaps appear. But again, these gaps are temporary and are created to accommodate different tooth sizes and ensure all teeth are correctly aligned when it’s time to remove the brace.
For some patients, the movement of teeth during orthodontic treatment can cause changes in the surrounding gum tissue. In these cases, as the teeth shift the gums may adapt to new positions, potentially resulting in gaps between the teeth. Once again, these gaps are fortunately temporary and the gum tissue typically repositions itself over time.
In many cases, gaps developing between the teeth during your brace treatment are normal adjustments, and they will close as treatment progresses.
How to Address Brace-Induced Gaps:
Patients must trust their orthodontist and the bespoke treatment plan they have designed. Gap formation is often part of the teeth-straightening journey, and these gaps are typically temporary. Throughout your brace treatment with Orthodontics For You, your orthodontist will monitor the progress of your smile every 6-8 weeks at check-up appointments. They will make any necessary adjustments to your brace to ensure the final result is nothing short of a beautifully aligned smile.
In some cases, patients with a modern metal brace will need elastic bands (think of tiny rubber bands) in addition to their brackets and wires. These bands work in conjunction with the brackets and wires and help apply additional pressure to the teeth to close any gaps. Of course, following your orthodontist’s instructions regarding the use of rubber bands is crucial to achieving the desired results. Patients must take responsibility for their brace use and maintenance.
There are rare occasions where minor gaps are left after orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist may recommend cosmetic dental procedures such as bonding or contouring. Bonding involves applying a tooth-coloured resin to fill in any gaps, while contouring reshapes the teeth to eliminate small imperfections. This is not very common for patients of Orthodontics For You, but we wanted to make you aware that it is a possibility, however unlikely.
Whether you have a metal, ceramic or hidden lingual brace, most patients are fitted with a retainer once it is removed. Your retainer will help close any remaining gaps over time and maintain the alignment of your teeth post-brace. Consistently wearing your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist is crucial to maximise your smile potential.
Experiencing gaps or spaces while undergoing orthodontic treatment can be frustrating, but it’s essential to understand that these gaps are often a temporary part of the process. Trusting your orthodontist and following their recommendations is crucial for achieving the best results.
We’d love to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Or why not register today for a free consultation with Orthodontics For You? Our team of experts will guide you through your individual teeth-straightening journey to reveal a beautifully straight smile.