Before and After: Spaces Between Teeth

In this before and after, you are going to see how braces close gaps between teeth. The pictures below are from one of Dr. Viechnicki’s actual patients with spaces between her upper and lower teeth.

Before braces space between teeth

There are 3 spaces between the upper teeth and 5 between the lower teeth. Gaps between teeth can leave gums unprotected during chewing. Spaces can also trap food and affect self-esteem. This is one of our actual patients.


Problems with spaces

Problems happen when teeth don’t line up just right.

The two most common problems caused by having spaces between teeth are a (1) lack of confidence when smiling and (2) loosening of the front teeth.

1. Gaps look like missing teeth

Gaps between teeth can make people self-conscious about smiling. The dark gaps can make a smile look like teeth are missing – even if all the teeth are present.

2. Dangers to the health of your gums

And there are health reasons for why gaps between teeth should be closed.

The most important reason to get spaces closed is to protect the health of the gums. You see, we are meant to chew with our teeth – not with our gums.

When there is a gap between teeth, that means that food can get smashed between teeth – smashed into the gums. Hard foods, like chips and pretzels can harm your soft gums. Over time, food that gets jammed between gap teeth and can force teeth even further apart.

Teeth can become loose because of the trauma, periodontal pockets and periodontal disease.

Closing spaces with braces

The best way to close spaces is often with braces. Other methods, like porcelain veneers and Invisalign may also be able to close spaces.

In as little as 6 months, braces patients can start to see their teeth come together – making the spaces between teeth disappear.

This particular patient from Hellertown visited our Bethlehem orthodontic office to get braces. Here is the typical sequence that we use to close gaps between teeth using braces (photos from our actual patient):

Closing gap teeth with braces

Gaps between teeth are closed with braces. Colorful elastic links (orange, green, and gray) connect to the braces and start to close the spaces together. These photos are of Dr. Viechnicki’s actual patient.





Braces bring teeth together with the help of elastic links (called elastic chain). In as little as 6 months, the spaces are closed and patient’s smile is already looking so much better.

The smile comes together

When teeth meet together properly, the smile really comes together.

The teeth and gums are healthier after the spaces are closed. Functionally, the patient is much better off after braces than she was before with gaps between her teeth.

When braces bring teeth together, you can see that the gums are protected from having food jammed into them:

Gaps between teeth closed with braces

Braces successfully closed all the gaps between the teeth. Straight teeth are healthy and look great! This is an actual patient of Dr. Viechnicki (and the same patient as in the photos above)

In summary, gaps between teeth are unhealthy and braces can bring teeth together in as little as 6 months.

What you think of this before and after?

About Dr. Bryon Viechnicki

Dr. Bryon Viechnicki is an orthodontist and university professor. He specializes in braces and Invisalign ... Continue reading

    Comments

  1. Kim, Bethlehem, PA :

    Thank you for this article. I have been thinking of getting the gaps between teeth closed up since I will be getting married in a year.

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Betty. I agree that life’s big events – like getting married – are great reasons to get the orthodontic treatment you’ve always wanted. Getting that “picture perfect” smile is something that our patients want for those big occasions.

  2. Lindsay, riverview Florida :

    I have three spaces in my front row of teeth. And I’ve never really loved my smile.. I was always admiring other people’s smiles and how pretty there’s was. But I think I really want braces and Im a confident person but to have my teeth look great like th

    • Hi Lindsay – thanks for commenting. I like that you highlighted that people with malocclusions – like spaces between teeth – can be confident people.

      It’s always a pleasure when adults come to see me to fix their bites and improve their smiles. Adults that want the best for their smiles are usually socially outgoing and confident. That is, until they think about what other people see when they’re smiling.

      Thanks again for writing in.

  3. I need them so bad where can I get them

  4. Kimmy, Camp Hill, PA :

    Thanks for this article! This helps a lot except for one problem… I didn’t have gaps in my teeth before braces, the braces are causing the gaps. I still have them on (so far 17 months and many more to go with my teeth being practically straight before braces with only one lower tooth rotated) and I’m getting gaps in my teeth making my smile look so much worse. I feel like braces are doing the opposite of what this article says they are good for. But thank you for the information maybe I should get a second opinion and have them checked before wasting too much more time with them on if they aren’t doing what they are supposed to.

    • Hi Kimmy,

      Thank you for commenting – I am happy to hear that this article helped you.

      Gaps between teeth can be frustrating. During orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may intentionally create small gaps to help rotate and align teeth. Towards the end of treatment, the gaps are then closed again.

      -Dr. V

      P.S. If you are getting a second opinion, make sure you get it from a true orthodontic specialist – only doctors with more than 2 years of specialized education beyond dental school can call themselves orthodontists.

  5. Rajesh , Hyderabad :

    Hi I have a small doubt. I was put only lower braces since there is some crowding and I was told that upper braces will be put on after 3 months until lower teeth come into right places.. Why so ?

  6. i have wanted braces all my life.. Im 26 years and i hate my smile coz of this huge gap between my two front teeth which looks like i have a tooth missing. Reason for not getting braces soon is the high cost..will try and save to make my smile a better one

  7. David, California :

    ive had a gap smaller then the one in the picture in my two front teeth. everytime i go to the dentist i get the same rubberbands and it doesnt seem to be closing. Ive had braces for almost 9 months now, i want this gap to close!!? does chewing gum alot slow down the process?

    • David,

      Sometimes we wait to close the space between the front teeth. There are a couple reasons to wait: 1) You are still in a light, round starting wire, 2) your top front teeth overlap with your bottom teeth too much, 3) your bottom front teeth are in the way of bringing the top front teeth back, 4) the size of your bottom teeth are proportionately too large for your top teeth.

      At the least, your orthodontist can close your space in the front. Ask for powerchain 2-2 (two-to-two) and that should start the closing process.

      I hope that helps,
      Dr. V

  8. Nishal, Mauritius :

    May i know the total costs of getting the gap closed by braces?

    • Hello Nishal,
      The cost of braces will depend on where you get them. The price often reflects the expertise of the orthodontist. In addition to the fee, you will want to know the cost of 1) the consultation, 2) initial and final records, 3) repair of appliances, 4) retainers, 5) replacement of retainers, and 6) treatment if it does not stay closed.
      -Dr. V

  9. Amanda, Pittsburgh, PA :

    I got braces 5 days ago, and I am very excited to get my gap closed. Unfortunately its not as fast as I wanted. I’ve got the Damon 3 system…do you have any idea if the treatment is different? (I did not get braces just for my gap…I’ve had crooked teeth, a tooth growing from the roof of my mouth, almost, a cross bite, an overbite, and an overjet.)

    • Hi Amanda,

      Teeth move best when they are moving at a slow and steady pace. In the first 5 days with braces, you can expect about 0.5mm of tooth movement. Over the next 4 weeks, you can expect another 0.5mm of tooth movement.

      The Damon 3 system is one of the hundreds of types of brackets available for orthodontists to prescribe their patients. The makers of the Damon 3 bracket (Ormco) have made some exciting claims about the speed, gentleness and general superiority of their bracket. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that their marketing claims are untrue and misleading.

      The Damon 3 system will move teeth just like any other bracket.

      I hope that helps clear up any confusion.

      -Dr. V

  10. Paul, New haven, CT :

    I don’t really smile a lot cuz I got a gap was the best way to close a gap.

    • Hi Paul,

      I am sorry that you are missing out on the joy of smiling because of an unsightly gap between your teeth. The best way to close the gap depends on your specific situation. I usually recommend moving the teeth together with 1) braces or 2) Invisalign.

      If the gaps are small and evenly distributed then veneers are also an option.

      Let me know what you decide on!
      -Dr. V

  11. Berenice, Danville, AR :

    I’ve had braces for 2 1/2 years already I got spring placed about 3 or 4 months ago and I’ve noticed I just now got a gap in between my two bottom teeth and I didn’t have that gap there before and now I really don’t even want to smile and show my teeth I’m worried because now I don’t think that gap can be fixed.

    • Hi Bernice,

      Congratulations on getting braces! At 2.5 years, you are already a braces veteran and can definitely help out others with their braces questions.

      The gap between our two bottom teeth could be for the following reasons:
      1) You have a permanent tooth that did not have room to come in and because of that, space needs to be opened between the right teeth to allow it to come in.
      2) You had a space somewhere towards the back of your mouth and the orthodontist is slowly redistributing that space (like beads on a string, moving one tooth back at a time).
      3) Your teeth are temporarily shifting around before they settle in their perfect alignment.

      Bernice, please let your orthodontist know that you noticed a space and that you want it fixed sooner, rather than later. I am certain that your orthodontist will be happy to help!

      -Dr. V

  12. I really need braces but not working so I would like to know the price too?

    • Hi Emily,

      The price of braces varies depending on the severity of your spacing/crowding, the alignment of your jaws, the expertise of your orthodontist, and your geographic location. With braces, as with so many things, you are likely to get what you pay for.

      The average price for braces in the US is around $5200. Fortunately, insurance helps take care of some of that for you.

      To get personalized information, I would definitely recommend visiting a local orthodontist (you can see them on http://www.mylifemysmile.org).

      Good luck!
      -Dr. V

  13. When is it necessary to perform a frenectomy if that is the cause of the gap?

    • Hi Aria,

      Thank you for asking such a great question! The best time to perform a frenectomy is AFTER the gap is closed.

      Once the gap is closed, the muscle attachment can be relocated from between the teeth to the spot where is is supposed to attach to the bone. The risk of getting a frenectomy before the gap is closed is that scar tissue will form between the teeth – and since teeth cannot move through scar tissue, you will be left with a permanent gap.

      Thank you,
      Dr. V

  14. This article made me less scared about getting my braces :D
    I also have a small gap between in my upper front teeth as well.
    My orthodontist told me it will take 1 year but is it possible that the duration could be earlier/faster than 1year?
    Thx :)
    P.S my gap is exactly the same as the picture you have used so maybe you might be able to help so.

    • Hi Jenn,

      I am so happy to hear that this article made you less scared about getting braces. You made the right decision to get it fixed.

      The gap should be closed in less than 1 year. In the photos above, the space closed in about 6 months. Once the spaces are closed, then your orthodontist will start to do the hard work of perfecting your bite. That usually takes about 6 months, and you will get to enjoy having the spaces closed the whole time.

      If you want to stop by and learn more, just give my office a call ((610) 865-4333).

      -Dr. V

  15. Thx for this article very much.
    I, also have the exact same gap as the picture but only on the upper front teeth.
    My orthodontist told me it would take 1 year but is it possible that it will be faster than be 1 year?
    Thank u.

  16. Angel, Singapore :

    Thanks for this article. I been wearing braces for about 1 yr & 8 mth and recently I went for my ortho appointment.
    Dr told me that there is still 4mm apart (upper and lower) and she could not close up the (U & L) biting gap. She suggest to do some filling in between my upper teeth so that she could create more space.
    * before my braces i have over biting problem *
    Please give me suggestion!!

    • Hi Angel,

      4mm is a very large space. I am sorry to hear that it was not closed for you. I usually only recommend getting restorations (veneers or crowns) when there is a mismatch in tooth sizes between the upper and lower front teeth.

      For example, there will be spaces around the upper teeth when the lower teeth are larger than they should be and the upper teeth are smaller than they should be. The solution for that specific problem is to make the upper teeth bigger with either veneers or crowns.

      Ask your orthodontist to calculate your Bolton Tooth Size Discrepancy to find out if restorations are the best/only solution for you.

      Good luck!
      -Dr. V

  17. Sabrina, Bronx NY :

    This is really great. Thank you so much for sharing this information. Your patient and I actually have the same problem on the top teeth. I’ve been wanting to close the gaps in my front teeth for a while now and I must admit I was terrified of getting braces. Thanks to you though I am now thinking that I need to get them as soon as possible haha :) I’m speaking to my parents about it and we will definitely have a chat with my dentist to make sure I’m ready for this. Thanks again. Wish me luck.

    • Hi Sabrina,

      Congratulations on making the decision to get braces! I’m so excited for you. I hope you have a great experience.

      Make sure that you get your braces from an orthodontist (not a general dentist) because orthodontists have an additional 2 years of specialized education beyond dental school.

      Good luck!
      -Dr. V

  18. Lesle, Long Island, NY :

    hi I have had braces for almost two years now, and I was wondering because I had a huge gap in between my two front teeth and now it is closed but it looks like they went in wrong because it is closed but there is a hole like gap near my gums and my ortho says he can not close it but one day I didn’t wear my rubberbands and the gap went right back to normal and after my braces come off will the gap come completely back? because I do not trust my ortho he is crazy…

    • Hi Lesle,

      I’m sorry to hear that your gap is not closing as expected. The gap that you see near your gums is called a black triangle or, more formally, an open gingival embrasure. There are 2 reasons why the gap is there: 1) the teeth are more trianglar than normal and when they contact each other, there is still a gap. 2) the height of bone is further down on the teeth than it should be.

      The solutions to the 2 problems are different. In the first case, your orthodontist can change the shape of the teeth from triangular to rectangular by polishing the sides of the teeth or asking your dentist to fill in gap with tooth colored material. In the second case, a periodontist can add gum between the teeth with short-lasting fillers (applied every 3-6 months).

      -Dr. V

  19. Crystal, Altamonte Springs, FL :

    Hello Dr. Viechnicki, I want to thank you for the testimonial/education regarding spaces and braces. I’ve had my braces for 1 year on the 18th of September and I started treatment because of a few small spaces in my teeth. I didn’t have any rotation or over/underbites,; only spaces. The orthodontist that I originally started with recently moved about 2 months ago so (sadly), and now I’m trying to get used to a different orthodontist. My second visit with her was last week and I left the office in tears (literally) because she advised me that a small space in the front and one side of my teeth couldn’t be closed due to my gums. I feel like the entire treatment is wasteful because the spaces was the reason for me getting braces. She recommended me seeing a periodontist but I don’t want to pay any extra monies nor do I want to have some fillers that I have to get replaced every few months. What is it that I can do to have this space closed permanently. Signed frustrated and slightly hopeless

    • Hi Crystal,

      It sounds like your problem may be different than Lesle’s.

      In Lesle’s situation, the teeth touch each other. Underneath the point that the teeth touch, there is a “black triangle” that should normally be filled by the gums.

      In your situation, it sounds like your teeth are not touching yet. You can test that by flossing between your teeth – if you don’t hear that tell-tale “snap” of floss through the teeth, then your are not touching.

      Where Lesle had not enough of gum to fill in the space, you have too much gum filling the space. If there is too much gum between the teeth, then the teeth cannot be brought together. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but often it is due to plaque that gets stuck to the sides of the teeth.

      My recommendation to patients that have too much gum between their teeth is to floss every night for 2 weeks and then re-evaluate the situation. Often, flossing will help the gums improve. Remember to remove the plaque from the sides of the teeth, not to attack the gums.

      If flossing does not work, then I refer my patients to a periodontist to address the gum problems (they are dentistry’s gum specialists).

      Good luck,
      Dr. V

  20. How big was the gap?

  21. Thanx a lot for this article !

  22. I have spaces in between the right side of my teeth and I also have a gap in the center, but what if I only want the side gaps to be closed and not my center gap? I love my center gap, I’ve had it since I started growing teeth! Would it even look right if the rest of my teeth are straitened?

  23. Nena, Phoenix, AZ :

    How long does it usually to take a gap to close with braces?

    • Hi Nena,

      It usually takes 1 month per millimeter of space. For example, the patient’s spaces above took about 6 months. Then the teeth were positioned ideally and adjusted for an additional 6 months.

      -Dr. V

  24. can you fix the gaps in teeth, that was caused by gum infections??

    • Yes! But usually not the gaps that you are thinking of. Sometimes, when gum infections cause destruction of the bone surrounding teeth, an orthodontist is able to move the tooth to change the height of the bone. This is the case if you have a “vertical osseous defect”.

      Ask your periodontist what happened to the bone around your gum infections and find out if orthodontics is an option.

      Good luck!
      Dr. V

  25. I have teeth like hers and my mom won’t let me get braces

    • Sorry to hear that Mia! More and more of my patients are asking to get their spaces closed when they are still growing – it is faster and the result is better. Most orthodontists will offer a free consultation. Maybe you could ask your mom if she could help you find out more information about closing the gaps.

      Good luck!
      Dr. V

    • Oh no! Sorry to hear that, Mia. See if your mom will at least take you in for a consultation. Good luck!

      -Dr. V

  26. I recently had my braces removed but I still have many gaps. My dentist said it was normal and I still don’t feel happy with my smile. I don’t like the fact that I spent $4800 and I still am not happy with my smile. I feel depressed!

    • Oh no! The first thing that I would recommend doing is to check to make sure that the person who straightened your teeth with braces is an orthodontic specialist. When you mentioned that your “dentist said it was normal” I just want to make sure that you are getting the best quality information from a specialist. Orthodontists have 2-3 years additional specialty training beyond dental school. So make sure you are getting the opinion of a specialist.

      My second recommendation is to see if the spaces can be closed with a retainer. Sometime, after the teeth have just been moved with braces, it is possible to close small (barely visible) spaces with a retainer. Ask if a “wrap-Hawley retainer” could fix the problem.

      I hope that helps. Best of luck!
      Dr. V

  27. Melanie, Singapore :

    Dear Dr Bryon,
    I just recently had my braces removed in June. I had been wearing it for 2 1/2 yrs. I am not happy with the results because I have many gaps here & there which I dont have before. I can visibly see little triangle gaps in the front bottom & top of my teeth. I felt, my orthodontist had not done a good job. He had ‘solved’ my crooked teeth but created new problems for me.. (sometimes when i eat, food stuck in between my teeth here & there). I had bring the attention to my doc earlier, but somehow or rather, he brush my queestion away.. Is there anything that could be done about these gaps? Is this normal? What can I do to help myself now? I had paid $5K and not happy with the results..

    • Hi Melanie,

      I’m sorry to hear that your straightening process is not going as expected. It sounds like the little triangles that you are seeing are gaps between where the teeth meet and the height of the gums. If this sounds like what you have, then you have what we call “black triangles”. There are 2 solutions:

      1. Change the height of the gum
      2. Change the contact of the teeth

      Unfortunately, changing the height of the gum is unpredictable. So my recommendation for treating black triangles is usually to change how the teeth are meeting. Ask your orthodontist if they can recontour the shape of your teeth to allow them to contact more gingivally. If that is not an option, please consider speaking with your dentist to have the black triangles filled in with tooth colored material.

      I hope you find a great solution to the triangular gaps between your teeth!

      -Dr. V

    • Hi Melanie,

      Sorry to hear that you ended up with little triangular gaps. They sound like gaps between where the teeth touch and the height of the gum. You can ask your orthodontist if “Interproximal Reduction” will help.

      -Dr. V

  28. Hi, I’m 13 and have got a gap in my two front teeth about the same size as your patient had do u think that it would close up naturally and if it would close up do you know how long it would take?
    Could u answer this question if u do it would make my day :)

  29. Meghan, Woodbridge, VA :

    I have just recently found out that I will be getting braces in the upcoming month and I am terrified. I have a gap in between my two front teeth and gaps in the teeth beside them, but my teeth are straight. I read this article and feel slightly informed however, I am still scared about the pain. Is there pain in the installation, i know there is pain in the spacers. And what should i ask my orthodontist to help reduce the pain and in turn reduce the fear.

    I have never been in anymore pain than a scratch or a bruised toe. please help the date is getting closer and i am becoming more afraid.

  30. Nepal
    Hi
    I got my braces about 6 months ago, I had a gap on my upper front teeths,my gap got closed within these 6 months, I also had my minor surgery of my under lips about 2 weeks ago,he told me that these gap could again happen if I dont get remove those skin under my lips, doctor does it hav any side effects,im so confused?

  31. Melissa, Atlanta Ga :

    This is amazing. I have a gap that looks similar to the picture above. I’m 20 years old and have always had confidence problems because of my teeth. It’s even hard to close my mouth at times due to my overbite. I can’t wait to get braces.

  32. kevin, edmond ok :

    I’m missing two teeth can my gap still be fixed and then have the other two teeth replaced

  33. Dear dentists, I have a really, really, really, REALLY big gap in between my top two front teeth.
    Do I need dental braces? Please respond ASAP. Thanks!

  34. asamma, Saudi Arabia :

    I’ve two missing lateral incisors and canines have taken place of it but ob my right side there is a one tooth gap between the canine and the first premolar, can the space be closed by braces?

  35. Zaria Rodgers mobile,Al :

    How many gaps do you have to have to get braces

  36. Destinie, Long Beach, Ca :

    My gap is currently the size of the gap in the picture with the baby blue chain. Ideally I would like to keep my braces on a little longer, but I am moving out of state and will no longer be able to visit my orthodontist routinely enough to get my braces tightened and will be getting them removed. My ortho thinks my gap will close all the way in two weeks I have left to wear them, but I am becoming more skeptical. Do you have an opinion?

  37. Tais, Danbury, Connecticut :

    I already have braces, i got them back in April of this year so i have had them for almost 5 months but i got my bottom ones and June because i had a small gap on my bottom row and it already closed. but anyway i was wondering if my top row of teeth will get smaller because i have a gap between my two front teeth and a small one next to it. And my cousins teeth have gotten smaller with the braces so i thought it will happen to me

  38. Allison, Lewis, MN Thank you very much for this article I only have a few questions I have gaps exactly like this and I was wondering how long this person had there braces on? Thank you!

  39. and after you get the elastic off , will you go back to your normal size gap? :

    Laria, Chicago

  40. Manila, Philippines :

    Good job! I learned a lot from your article. Im planning to have metal braces this coming december and now i have idea in dealing with the gaps between my teeth as well as choosing my orthodontist. More powers. :)

  41. So i have a gap between my teeth and i was wondering if you can give me a more o les price range ??

  42. Hi, my son had braces at age 14, to realign his jaw. His top and bottom row of teeth always met when he put his back teeth together. He is now 17, and suddenly a gap has appeared between the top and bottom teeth. When he puts his back teeth together there is about an inch gap between top set and bottom set of teeth. He is also complaining that several teeth move when he eats, and his speech has become quite slurred.He is having difficulty biting food with front teeth because of the gap, he cannot bite down. Have you any ideas about what may have happened? Thank you

  43. dhaka ,Bangladesh :

    its amazing…..

  44. thank you for this article. I have gaps in both the left and right sides of my teeth because I had to take two teeth out in order to fix my bite, but with the exception of me missing 5 appointments, its been like 8 months of having this gap! is that normal?

  45. Saivon, Salisbury,MD :

    My Doctor At My Dentist Office Said I Would Have To See A Orthedonist Because I Have A Gap In Between My Front Two Teeth & He Said It Was Minor But I Don’t Like To Smile Because Of The Gap.

  46. Ebony Jackson :

    This article has helped me make my decision on getting braces! I get alittle self conscious at times abt my smile and most of my friends say I walk around angry a lot and always remind me to smile I have big gaps in between every tooth on the top and bottom I’m just so ready for a change!

  47. wow you doing great Job doc,I've got a huge gap between my front teeth would like you to help me,I would like to know how much must I have to fix my teeth and get braces? :

    Mjerminah,free state

  48. I have a gap between my 2 upper central + my lower later and canine. Do i have to extract teeth ??

  49. hello doctor!
    my name is samira i am 12 years old i aslo have a gap between my top teeths i was waiting many years to close it i always ask my mom because she had it before .
    my question is should i get braces ? becausei dont like the way my gaps is

  50. Hello Dr.Bryon,
    How big should the gap be to be considered as a gap/space? If the gap is not visible, but food keeps trapping between the space, will it cause any problem to the teeth in the future ?
    Thank you!

    • Hello doctor,
      I am worried abt puttng d braces as i hav seen sum of my frnds getng gaps aftr d remval of the braces evn aftr d retainers. M afriad to put thm on as thy make my smile luk worse…my teeth arnt straight wats d solutn fr ths?

  51. Tanuja,chennai :

    i would like to know why my doctor took one month gap after putting braces…he is not xplaining me anything.before starting treatment everything explained..but now he is not following in that way.

  52. miriam, philippines, working in brunei :

    hi, I have a gap between teeth on the upper front. I got braces since august 2014. but after 3 months my orthodontist put a temporary crown on my four front teeth. so it’s automatically close the gap. and he said after one year I have to change it to permanent crown. if ever i don’t want the crown would still my teeth can close without using crown? cause as much as possible i want my original teeth.