More than 4 million people in the United States alone need to wear braces. If you have braces or plan on getting braces in the future, you might be wondering: how long do braces take to close gaps? While braces are often used to straighten crooked teeth, they can also be used to bring together gaps between your teeth. 

This procedure is not only important for aesthetic reasons but it is also important for your oral health. But why exactly is it important to close a gap between your teeth and how long will it take? Keep reading and learn more about it below. 

Why Is Having Gap Teeth A Problem?

Having gaps between your teeth can be a problem for many reasons. First, however, you should know why gaps between teeth happen in the first place. Often, the position of your adult teeth is determined by genetic factors. If your parents had gap teeth when they were younger, you will be more likely to have gap teeth as well. 

However, besides genetics, there are other factors that could contribute to developing gaps between your teeth. For example, if you lose your baby teeth too early, this could contribute to this problem. This is because baby teeth help guide the position of your adult teeth. 

If you happen to lose your baby teeth too early or if they’re knocked out, then your adult teeth will be at a higher risk of being gapped or crooked. Gap teeth may also happen if your teeth are unusually small or if certain teeth never erupted. Occasionally, gap teeth may also happen if you had a habit of sucking on your thumb or on a pacifier when you were very young. 

Sucking on a pacifier obsessively can actually alter the structure of your mouth and teeth as you get older. Whatever the case, once you have gap teeth, you will find that they can cause all sorts of problems. The main problem has to do with the health of your gums. 

The Details

This is because gap teeth will leave portions of your gums exposed every time you eat or drink something. Over time, this will cause your gums to become damaged in various ways such as getting scratched by hard foods. Gap teeth also make it more likely for plaque to build up in the spaces between your teeth. 

Plaque is a sticky substance created by the bacteria that live in your mouth. The plaque itself is relatively harmless but when left alone for long periods of time, it can eventually turn into tartar. Tartar is a hard substance that tends to build up around the base of the gums. 

It is hard to remove without professional dental help and it tends to irritate the gums and can even cause gum disease. More than that, plaque and tartar often contribute to bad breath and many other dental problems. For that reason, among many others, it is important to fix any gap teeth you may have with braces. 

But how long will it take? 

How Long Do Braces Take to Close Gaps?

First, it is important to understand how braces work and make teeth move in the first place. Traditional metal braces consist of brackets and wires. The brackets are the square parts that your dentist must adhere to the center of each of your teeth.

The wires connect each of these brackets and the wires need to be tightened to a certain extent. The tightness of the wires will apply pressure to the teeth and, over time, this pressure will force the teeth to move in a certain way. When fixing gap teeth, the dentist will apply the braces in a way that will force your teeth to move closer together, effectively closing the gap. 

The pressure of the braces will be somewhat uncomfortable at first, but you will soon get used to it. In general, it will take between six and eight months for your braces to close the gaps between your teeth. However, the exact amount of time will depend on a variety of factors.

In particular, it will depend on how wide the gaps between your teeth really are. If they are very wide, then the process will take longer because your teeth will need to travel a larger distance before they finally come together to close the gap. Your bone structure may also play a part. 

What You Need to Know

In some cases, your bone structure may want to grow your teeth with gaps between them. For that reason, it will take a bit longer to straighten your teeth because the braces will be fighting against your natural bone structure. Whatever the case, closing gaps between your teeth should not take any longer than a year. 

If you only have very small gaps and if your bone structure is very accommodating, then it may even take as little as four months. Whatever the case, your dentist should tell you everything you need to know about getting braces and what to expect as the braces straighten your teeth over a number of months. 

All About Closing Gap Teeth With Braces

How long do braces take to close gaps, you might ask? It depends on a variety of factors such as the position of your teeth, the severity of the gaps between your teeth, and so on. However, in general, it takes between six and eight months to fully close the gaps between your teeth with braces. 

If you’re thinking about getting braces to fix your gap teeth, click here to learn more.