I’m 30 years old and I have small gaps in my front teeth. I am an extremely self-conscious person as my job role involves meeting new people. This makes me really hesitant to opt for braces. Any advice?

Generally, spacing between the teeth appears unaesthetic and is corrected by orthodontists and cosmetic dentists.

There are several options to correct your problem and close the spaces. Orthodontics is one. Unlike in the past, where we only had metal and ceramic braces, which are visible, now you can choose from other options to straighten your teeth and close the spacing. In some cases, if the tooth size is very small you might have to also do an aesthetic cosmetic procedure to increase the size of the teeth, along with orthodontics.

The first method is Invisalign – a clear alternative to braces. It uses a series of clear aligners that are virtually invisible. It does not interfere with your lifestyle and you can eat whatever you want.

Another option are lingual invisible braces. These are custom-made braces that are bonded behind your teeth so they are totally invisible. It can correct the most complicated of cases and give you the result you desire. However, you need to choose a dentist who has considerable experience in using lingual braces.

Porcelain or composite veneers are another option. It can give very good results, but if the gaps are too large, the result may not be too aesthetic as it increases the size of the teeth. Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain shells that are bonded on top of your existing teeth. They are ideal for patients who have gaps between teeth, fractured or discoloured teeth. The dentist removes a thin layer of tooth enamel and then bonds the veneers, custom-made in a lab, to your teeth.

Composite binding involves adding a thin facade on the front of your teeth. Instead of porcelain, a tooth-coloured resin is used that is shaped and applied to your teeth using adhesives. The advantage is that it can be done in one appointment and is generally cheaper. The disadvantage: They generally do not have the same longevity as porcelain veneers as they tend to stain and break easily.

It is generally not advisable to do crowns to close the spacing unless your teeth are extensively damaged, as this involves removing a considerable amount of the tooth structure and covering your teeth all around with a crown.

If the spacing in your teeth is due to a missing tooth then you will have to consider closing that gap with orthodontics or replacing the missing tooth.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to maintain strict dental hygiene during and after treatment to ensure that your teeth remain healthy.