As a dentist it is a very common concern as ‘’i have a gap in my teeth that was not there before braces’’. You might be wondering why your braces seem to be creating gaps between your teeth instead of closing them up. This can be surprising, especially since the whole point of braces is to straighten and align your smile.  But fret not! In many cases, these gaps are actually a normal and even necessary part of the orthodontic process. Let’s delve into why this happens and what it means for your overall treatment.

Gaps during orthodontic treatment

Causes of tooth gap with braces

Even though braces aim to create a perfect smile, there are a few reasons why you might develop a gap between your teeth during treatment:

Creating Space for Alignment by jaw expansion

This might seem counterintuitive, but orthodontists sometimes intentionally create temporary gaps.  Imagine a crowded room needing organization; you might need to temporarily move things around to create space for better arrangement. Braces can work similarly. By creating controlled gaps by expansion of jaw, there’s room for misaligned teeth to shift into their proper positions. These gaps typically close up as treatment progresses.

Movement of teeth

The entire purpose of braces is to shift your teeth into optimal alignment based on your individual bite. As teeth begin to move, temporary gaps between them may appear. Teeth tend to drift or flare outward when braces are first put and wires provide pressure. As they move away from each other, the spaces between them become wider.


To alleviate severe crowding or bite difficulties, some individuals require one or more permanent tooth extractions prior to braces. This orthodontic procedure increases the amount of space accessible in the mouth.

How to address brace induced gaps?

While brace-induced gaps can be concerning, there’s good news! In many cases, they’re a temporary step towards your perfect smile. Here’s how to address them:

Talk to our expert  Orthodontist team:  They are the ultimate authority on your treatment plan.  Schedule an appointment to discuss the gaps. They can explain why they’re there,  if they’re part of the plan, and what to expect moving forward.

Trust the Process:  Often, these gaps are temporary and close up as your teeth move into their final positions.  Be patient and follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

Retainer Religion:  Once your braces come off, wearing your retainer religiously is crucial.  It prevents your teeth from shifting back and potentially creating new gaps.

Addressing Underlying Issues:  In some cases, gaps might be caused by factors like tooth size discrepancy or gum tissue changes. Your orthodontist can assess this and adjust the treatment plan if necessary.

Tongue Thrusting Troubleshooter:  If you have a tongue thrusting habit,  address it! Tongue thrusting can counteract the work of braces and create gaps. Talk to your orthodontist about myofunctional therapy or using an appliance to retrain your tongue position.

Stages of fixing teeth spacing with braces

Fixing teeth spacing with braces actually involves a carefully planned sequence of adjustments, not just a single action. The sequence of steps is described below:

Braces procedure step by step

1. Initial Assessment and Planning

  • This stage involves X-rays, photos, and a thorough examination by your orthodontist.
  • They’ll assess the severity of the gaps, your overall bite, and any underlying issues.
  • Based on this, they’ll create a treatment plan outlining the stages involved in closing the gaps and achieving a proper alignment.

2. Appliance Placement (Braces)

  • Brackets are bonded to each tooth, and a flexible archwire is threaded through them.
  • This wire applies gentle, continuous pressure to gradually move your teeth.

3. Initial Alignment and Leveling

  • In this early stage, the focus might be on aligning and leveling your teeth overall.
  • This can sometimes involve strategically creating small gaps to give crowded teeth room to move into their desired positions.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you see new gaps appear at this point! They’re usually temporary and part of the plan.

4. Gap Closure

  • Once your teeth are more aligned and leveled, the orthodontist will shift focus to closing the gaps.
  • They might use elastics (small rubber bands) attached to the brackets. These elastics provide targeted pressure to move specific teeth closer together.

5. Refinement and Retention

  • As your teeth near their final positions, adjustments might be made to the archwire or elastics for fine-tuning.
  • Once your teeth are in their ideal positions, you’ll transition to wearing retainers. These are crucial to hold your teeth in place and prevent them from shifting back, potentially creating new gaps.

When does a gap closing become concerning?

In most cases, gaps during braces treatment are a normal and expected part of the process. However, there are some situations where a gap closing might become concerning:

  • Gaps Persist for an Extended Period: If the gaps have been present for a significant portion of your treatment and haven’t shown signs of closing despite adjustments by your orthodontist, it’s worth discussing your concerns.
  • Gaps Worsen or New Ones Appear: While creating small gaps for alignment is common, large gaps that worsen or entirely new gaps appearing could indicate underlying issues.
  • Changes in Bite: If the gaps are accompanied by changes in your bite, like an open bite where your front teeth don’t touch, it’s important to address it with your orthodontist.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Gaps shouldn’t cause significant pain or discomfort. If you experience pain associated with the gaps, consult your orthodontist.

If you’re concerned about gaps during your treatment, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist Dr. Jeetu Verma. He will guide you through all the concers with the gaps during braces.

Tips to help close a gap with braces

Closing a gap with braces requires teamwork between you and your orthodontist. Here are key actions you can take to support the process and achieve a gap-free smile:

1. Wear elastics

Wear your elastics exactly as instructed by your orthodontist, following guidelines for duration and wear time. Don’t skip on them or wear them for less time than recommended. Consistency is crucial!

2. Avoid Habits

  • Habits like tongue thrusting can counteract the work of braces and hinder gap closure.
  • You can discuss habits with our orthodontists. They may recommend exercises or appliances to help you retrain your tongue muscles for proper positioning.

3. Embrace Extractions

  • In some cases, your orthodontist might recommend extracting a tooth (or teeth) to create space for proper alignment, especially if your jawbone is crowded. This space can then be used to efficiently close gaps or prevent future crowding.
  • Don’t worry, extractions are only recommended when absolutely necessary, and your orthodontist will explain the reasoning and benefits thoroughly before proceeding.

4. Explore Restorative Solutions

  • Restorative solutions might be needed if missing or damaged teeth contribute to the gaps. These solutions can involve:
    • Fillings: To restore decayed or chipped teeth that might be affecting alignment.
    • Crowns: To cap a severely damaged or weakened tooth that could hinder movement.
    • Dental implants: To replace missing teeth that create gaps and provide a stable foundation for proper alignment.

When to consult orthodontist about widening gap?

It’s wise to consult your orthodontist if you notice a widening gap between your teeth while wearing braces or after your braces have been removed. Here are some specific situations that warrant a conversation:

  • Gap Widening During Braces:  This might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes orthodontists create small gaps strategically during treatment. However, if you notice a significant gap widening, especially if it’s causing discomfort or seems unrelated to your treatment plan, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist.
  • New Gap After Braces:  Retainer wear is crucial after braces to prevent teeth from shifting back. If you haven’t been wearing your retainer as instructed, a pre-existing gap might widen, or a new gap could develop.
  • Rapid Widening:  The speed of the gap widening is also important. A slow, gradual change might be part of the treatment plan. But if the gap seems to be widening rapidly, it’s best to consult your orthodontist to rule out any underlying issues.
  • Pain or Discomfort:  Gaps shouldn’t cause significant pain or discomfort. If you experience pain associated with the widening gap, consult your orthodontist to determine the cause and address it promptly.


How much is teeth gap braces time period?

The timeframe for actual gap closure can vary:

  • Minor gaps: These might close within a few weeks to 3-4 months with proper treatment.
  • Larger gaps or complex cases: Closing these gaps could take 6 months to a year or even longer.

Can i keep my gap with braces?

In most cases, no, you cannot keep your gap with braces. Braces are specifically designed to straighten and align your teeth, which typically means closing any existing gaps.

Here are the reasons:

  • Treatment Goal: The primary purpose of braces is to create a well-aligned and functional bite. Gaps can interfere with proper chewing and speaking, and braces aim to correct these issues.
  • Strategic Gaps (Temporary): Sometimes, orthodontists create small, temporary gaps during treatment. This might seem counterintuitive, but it can be necessary to make space for crowded teeth to move into their ideal positions. These gaps typically close up as your treatment progresses.
  • Diastema Preference: If you have a small gap between your two front teeth (diastema) and specifically desire to keep it, you can discuss this with your orthodontist. In some cases, they might be able to accommodate your preference, but it depends on several factors like the size of the gap and overall treatment goals.

Should i worry if my gap widens with braces on?

In most cases, seeing a gap widen slightly during braces treatment isn’t a cause for immediate worry. Here’s why:

Strategic Gaps:  Sometimes, orthodontists create small, controlled gaps during treatment. This might seem counterintuitive, but it can be a necessary step. By creating temporary gaps, your orthodontist gives misaligned teeth room to shift into their proper positions. These gaps typically close up as your treatment progresses.

How can i get my tooth gap to close faster while in braces?

While you can’t directly force your gap to close faster with braces, there are definitely ways to support the process and ensure optimal conditions for gap closure:

  • Wear your braces faithfully: Don’t skip wearing them or take them off for extended periods.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene: Brush and floss diligently to remove plaque buildup that can hinder tooth movement.
  • Wear elastics exactly as prescribed: Elastics are often crucial players in gap closure. Wear them for the designated duration and wear time as instructed by your orthodontist. Skipping them or wearing them for less time can slow down progress.
  • Be Diligent with Retainer Wear (After Braces):Once your braces come off, wearing your retainer religiously is key.  This prevents your teeth from shifting back and potentially creating new gaps.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Avoid hard or sticky foods that can damage braces and potentially disrupt tooth movement. Focus on a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support healthy bone and gum tissue, which is essential for efficient tooth movement.

What if my gap doesn’t close after my braces come off?

Schedule an Appointment with our Orthodontist:

This is the first and most crucial step. Don’t wait! We can assess the situation and determine the cause of the persistent gap.

Possible Reasons for Unclosed Gap:

  • Retainer Issues: Not wearing your retainer as instructed is a common culprit. Retainers hold your teeth in their new positions after braces, and neglecting to wear them allows teeth to shift back, potentially reopening gaps.
  • Treatment Plan Adjustments: In some cases, the initial treatment plan might not have fully addressed the underlying cause of the gap. Your orthodontist might recommend additional refinements or adjustments to close the gap effectively.
  • Underlying Issues: Factors like tongue thrusting, gum tissue problems, or missing teeth can contribute to gaps. Your orthodontist can identify these and recommend solutions like myofunctional therapy, gum grafting, or dental implants to address them and facilitate gap closure.

Treatment Options for Unclosed Gaps:

  • Retainer Therapy: Your orthodontist might recommend a modified retainer or a longer wear time for your existing retainer to encourage the gap to close.
  • Additional Braces Treatment: In some cases, a short course of additional braces treatment might be necessary to achieve complete gap closure. This could involve using different wires or elastics for targeted adjustments.
  • Clear Aligners (Invisalign): For minor gaps, clear aligners like Invisalign might be an option after braces. These can be used for small adjustments and refinements.

How do i prevent my closed gap from reopening after braces?

Here’s the key to preventing your gap from reopening after braces:

  • Wear Your Retainer as Instructed: Your orthodontist will give you specific guidelines on how long to wear your retainer each day (often nightly) and for how long you’ll need to wear it overall.  Stick to the plan!
  • Cleaning is Crucial:  Just like your teeth, your retainer needs regular cleaning to prevent bacteria buildup.  Brush it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste (separate from your regular toothbrush) and rinse thoroughly.  Consult your orthodontist for specific cleaning instructions.
  • Don’t Bend or Play:  Retainers are delicate. Avoid bending them, chewing on them, or using them for anything other than their intended purpose.
  • Keep It Safe:  When you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in a sturdy case to avoid accidental damage or loss.
  • Have Backup Plans:  Life happens! If you lose or damage your retainer, contact your orthodontist immediately to get a replacement.  Don’t go a night without wearing one!

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