Adult tooth gap is arguably the most common dental issue today. Its technical name is “diastema,” but that makes it sound scarier than it actually is: one or more teeth have excess space between them. That’s all it is. The most common type of tooth gap is a gap between the two front teeth, but a tooth gap can occur between any teeth throughout the mouth.
Thankfully, a tooth gap rarely causes any serious issues if you decide not to treat it. That said, a tooth gap can contribute to teeth misalignments, worn enamel (due to grinding your teeth at night), and in rare cases, bacteria build-up. Some people don’t like how their tooth gap makes their smile look, either.
With today’s advanced dentistry, there are lots of different ways to fix a crooked smile. Invisalign is one of the most well-known ones. But can Invisalign fix a tooth gap? In this guide, we’ll cover everything there is to know about Invisalign and tooth gaps.
How Does Invisalign Work to Fix Tooth Gap?
Can Invisalign fix a tooth gap? The short answer is, yes! In fact, Invisalign is such a comprehensive treatment system that it can handle tooth gaps, overbites, underbites, and every dental issue in between. For a lot of cases, though, Invisalign is almost too effective at treating tooth gap to make it worth the price tag (but more on that in a moment). Tooth gaps are relatively simple to correct; all it usually takes is pulling the teeth back together so there’s no more gap.
Technically speaking, Invisalign and braces are equally effective methods to treat a tooth gap (or any dental issue, for that matter) because they accomplish the same thing. But instead of using brackets and wires, Invisalign uses clear trays that are molded to match your teeth, and by wearing your aligners, you gradually move your teeth into new, aligned positions.
But Invisalign actually takes it a step further: they offer elastics and their proprietary tooth-colored add-ons called SmartForce attachments. These can be fixed directly to your teeth, exerting more force on your teeth than clear aligners alone. That extra “oomph” allows Invisalign to move both your teeth and, if needed, your jaw itself. That’s why Invisalign can fix most bite issues. Technically, though, most cases of tooth gap don’t require those extra attachments.
Of course, your new perfect smile comes with a price: you’ll have to endure a little discomfort and wear your aligners religiously. If you don’t, your treatment won’t be effective. A lot of people like the convenience of removing their aligners to eat, drink, and clean their teeth. But if you’d be tempted to take them out in order to reduce your discomfort, then you may want to choose a more permanent method like traditional or clear braces.
How Long Will Invisalign Take To Correct My Tooth Gap?
That’s a good question, and it’s a little tough to answer. Your treatment length ultimately depends on how severe your case is. For example, if you have a lot of tooth gaps or your tooth gap is big, it’ll take more time to move your teeth into their perfect positions. In general, cases of tooth gap don’t require an extensive treatment time.
Across the board, most people can expect to wear their Invisalign aligners for 12 to 18 months. That’s the time it typically takes to move your teeth as needed. There’s an exception, though. If you’re a candidate for Invisalign Express (essentially a smaller, cheaper version of Invisalign), your average treatment will last just 6 months. A lot of people with tooth gap are good candidates for Invisalign Express (provided there aren’t any other dental issues to resolve). However, many dentists and orthodontists are more likely to offer Invisalign Full over Express.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Tooth Gap With Invisalign?
Let’s be clear: whatever method you use to correct your smile, you’ll be making a significant investment. A perfect smile doesn’t come cheap, and Invisalign is no exception.
Since Invisalign is administered in person by individual orthodontists, it’s tough to nail down an exact price for Invisalign treatment. Of course, your orthodontist will charge you for the aligners themselves, but they will also add on the labor costs of preparing your aligners, your check-up appointments, and so on. Those fees vary from one orthodontist to another. On average, though, most people spend between $3,000 to $8,000 for Invisalign.
Since tooth gaps aren’t too complicated to correct, it’s reasonable to expect that your total price will be on the lower side of that price range. But if you have both a tooth gap and another dental issue, it might cost more. As a general rule, the more complicated your case, the more aligners you’ll need, and the more money you’ll need to pay.
Can I Use an At-Home Clear Aligner Like Smile Direct Instead?
Ultimately, it depends on your specific case. Compared to home-based clear aligners like Byte and Smile Direct Club, Invisalign is a more powerful method that can correct nearly any tooth gap. At-home clear aligner products can correct some tooth gaps, but not all.
In general, tooth gaps can be treated with home clear aligners—provided a tooth gap is the only issue present. If someone has a tooth gap on top of another bite issue like underbite, overbite, or overjet, then the case might be too tough for home aligners to handle.
Why? Because a lot of bite issues are caused by two primary issues: the teeth themselves don’t line up, or the jaw bone isn’t aligned correctly. Moving the jaw so it lines up is possible, but it (understandably) requires more force. Home teeth aligners can only exert force on the teeth themselves, not the jaw. Invisalign—with the help of attachments added by your dentist—can do both. So, Invisalign is more effective at correcting moderate-to-severe bite issues paired with tooth gap than home teeth aligners.
All in all, home-based clear aligners are much more convenient and affordable than Invisalign, so they’re worth considering if you only have a tooth gap.
The Best Home-Based Clear Aligners For Tooth Gap
Smile Direct may be the most well-known home-based aligner company, but they’re honestly not our first pick. Our two favorite home-based clear aligners are Byte and Candid. Both are younger than Smile Direct and Invisalign, but they’ve already proved themselves as effective treatment methods for minor cosmetic cases of malocclusion and tooth gap.
Our all-time favorite home aligner is Byte. They’re an all-around good option. And if you’re eager to see your perfect smile, Byte offers the shortest treatment lengths on the market; most treatments last just 4 months. In contrast, most other home aligner companies last 6 months.
Those short treatment lengths are largely thanks to Byte’s HyperByte device. Some orthodontists will offer a similar contraption at extra charge, but Byte includes it as a complimentary part of your treatment. Here’s how it works: you use the HyperByte for approximately five minutes a day. The HyperByte sends gentle, microscopic vibrations through your teeth and up to your roots. Not only does this help shift your teeth, but it also stimulates blood flow and helps reduce your treatment discomfort.
The HyperByte system is one of the main reasons Byte is our favorite treatment for mild cases of tooth gap. The high frequency vibration therapy keeps things quick and (relatively) painless.
Candid began as a fully remote clear aligner provider, but has recently shifted to “CanidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment option. Your treatment will be administered by a local dentist in the Candid network, and overseen remotely thanks to the sophisticated CandidMonitoring system.
Using your smartphone and a special imaging device included in your treatment bundle, you can upload progress photos to the Candid app every 10-14 days. The Candid team and/or your dentist will review these images, and make any necessary tweaks to your treatment. In some cases, you may be given the go-ahead to switch a near aligner early. This high level of oversight has the potential to shorten your treatment length a bit.
If you’re interested in the convenience of home aligners, but want the robust oversight of in-office care, look no further than Candid for correcting mild cases of tooth gap.
Candid and Byte are our favorite home aligner companies, but they aren’t the only options, either. If you’re considering home aligners to treat your tooth gap, check out our comparison of the top home aligner companies.
When it comes to choosing a treatment method, we urge you to carefully consider all your options, and why you feel the need to correct your tooth gap to begin with. Tooth gap might make your smile look a little different, but odds are most people don’t even notice. So remember, whether you correct your tooth gap or leave it be, your future is still bright!
Thankfully, you have time on your side (since tooth gap rarely causes medical issues, you don’t have to rush to fix it). Since you have that time, our recommendation is to chat with your dentist about the best options for treating your tooth gap. And if you’re interested in at-home treatment, consider ordering an impression kit from one of the providers above to see if you’re a candidate!