Tooth gap (or diastema) is a common condition characterized by a space between two or more teeth. It can occur between any teeth, but appears most commonly between the upper central incisors, called a midline diastema. Tooth gaps don’t cause medical complications, but many adults opt for treatment, especially if gaps are keeping them from feeling totally comfortable with their smile.
There are plenty of treatment options available, perhaps none more recently-popular than home aligner systems. Of course, home aligners aren’t the best solution for everyone, and there are a number of treatment paths out there. Keep scrolling and you’ll find the types of tooth gaps that home aligners can treat, an overview of the most effective home aligners for tooth gaps, and a few alternatives if home aligners aren’t a good fit.
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How Do Home Teeth Aligners Work?
Home teeth aligners are exactly what they sound like: aligners designed to treat dental concerns from home, without the added cost or hassle involved in traditional orthodontic treatment. But what does the process of home teeth alignment actually entail?
To get the ball rolling, you’ll take impressions of your teeth using the kit your provider sends you (we’ll go over our recommended providers shortly). Then, you’ll mail the impressions back to them for one of their dentists to review. If the dentist in charge of your case determines that home aligners aren’t the right fit for you, the cost of this step (between $49-$99) is fully refundable. Some companies also offer the option of visiting a physical office to get your teeth scanned for free instead of buying a home impression kit.
After this step, your provider will design a series of custom aligners based on your impressions, and send them to you within about one month. From there, it’s up to you to keep up with the treatment plan (wearing your aligners for the required amount of time each day, keeping up with oral hygiene, progressing through the series of aligners as prescribed) to make sure you get the results you were promised!
Are Home Teeth Aligners Effective for Tooth Gaps?
Yes, home aligners are extremely effective for a large majority of tooth gap cases. These discreet aligners specialize in mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues, which is exactly where most diastemas fall.
Tooth gaps have a few potential causes, some more likely than others. Most often, it’s the result of disharmony between your jaw/gum size and your teeth size. Other times, childhood habits like thumb-sucking or tongue thrusting push teeth out of position and cause irregular spacing. These causes are usually confined to the teeth themselves, without complications elsewhere in the mouth or jaw, and are therefore quite responsive to home aligners.
Tooth gaps can also be caused by periodontal disease (gum disease). In patients with gum disease, the bone holding teeth in place begins to deteriorate from a heavy buildup of plaque. As a result, the teeth begin to shift, often causing them to loosen and form gaps.
Sometimes, however, a midline diastema stems from an oversized labial frenum (the tissue that connects your upper lip to the gums). This typically isn’t a problem, but occasionally, the frenum can continue growing between the teeth, and it may need to be addressed before correcting the gap.
If your tooth gap is accompanied or caused by a jaw alignment issue like overjet or crossbite, it may require more significant tooth and jaw realignments to achieve the results you’re after, so you might need to consider a more robust treatment option, like braces or Invisalign.
But again, the vast majority of tooth gap cases are minor and perfectly suitable for home aligner treatment.
With all this in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the best home alignment services for tooth gap.
What Home Teeth Aligners Can I Choose From?
Most home aligner systems promise results for spacing and crowding issues, but not all home aligners are the same. It’s important to evaluate multiple options to determine which offer the costs, timelines, services, and reliability you want. This might seem like a lot of research (and it is) but don’t worry, we’ve done the bulk of it for you. Here are a few of the best home aligners for treating tooth gap we could find:
If you’ve got a special occasion coming up in just a few months, speed is the name of the game. And no home aligner company is faster than byte. Plus, they maintain affordable prices, flexible financing options, and an unrivaled lifetime guarantee.
- byte’s dental team includes both dentists and orthodontists, but they guarantee that an orthodontist will be involved in every case.
- byte’s 3-month average treatment time is the fastest in the industry
- The byte-For-Life guarantee provides new aligners if your teeth ever shift
- Their financing plans don’t require a credit check, so everyone qualifies
- byte-At-Night only requires 10 hours of continuous wear per day instead of the usual 22
- byte includes aftercare retainers for free
- byte doesn’t currently have any retail locations, so you’ll need to order an impression kit to get started
- Still young, byte doesn’t have an extensive track record of results yet
- byte’s $1,895 price tag is just average for the industry
Most home aligners are capable of correcting mild to moderate spacing issues, and byte is no exception. That said, you’ll still need to submit an impression of your teeth to confirm your candidacy (and ultimately design your unique treatment plan).
Candid’s dedication to quality makes them well worth considering for anyone interested in home teeth alignment. Candid is the only provider that makes sure an orthodontist manages your treatment plan. And they’re the only home aligner company to offer Remote Monitoring, which gives you regular virtual check-ins with your assigned orthodontist.
- Candid prioritizes customer safety by using an orthodontist-only network
- Physical Candid Studios provide free teeth scans that allow you to skip the impression kit
- Remote Monitoring with your orthodontist keeps your treatment on track from start to finish
- Candid’s aligners are manufactured by ClearCorrect, the 2nd-largest clear aligner producer
- Candid offers your first set of retainers free of charge
- Candid treatment costs $2,400, which is more than the competition
- Their financing plans, which run through Affirm, require a credit check to qualify
- Candid’s 6-month average treatment time is middle of the road
Just like with byte, a dentist will have to review the condition of your teeth to determine your eligibility. However, unlike byte, Candid has physical office locations in several major U.S. cities where you can go to get your teeth scanned for free. This is a great option for folks who live in proximity to one of Candid’s offices and want to avoid the hassle of taking impressions on their own.
All home aligners are fairly affordable, but AlignerCo takes it to another level. They offer the industry’s lowest prices, plus accessible financing, all while producing quality products. If your budget is top-priority, AlignerCo is the best bet.
- AlignerCo’s $1,145 price tag makes them the most affordable option in the home aligner industry
- They don’t require a credit check for their SmileFlex Easy financing plan (their standard SmileFlex plan requires a soft credit check)
- AlignerCo uses plastic from Essix in their aligners
- They’ve received consistent praise for their attentive, helpful customer service
- AlignerCo doesn’t have any physical locations that offer free teeth scans
- They use a mixed team of orthodontists and general dentists
- AlignerCo’s treatment often takes 6-11 months, slower than the industry average
There’s a good chance that AlignerCo will be able to correct your diastema, especially if it’s a mild or moderate case. But you’ll still need to complete an impression kit so their dentists can thoroughly evaluate your condition and make the right call.
SmileDirectClub is easily the best-known brand of home teeth aligners on the market today. They’ve been straightening teeth since 2014 and served over 750,000 customers to date. With over 300 SmileShops and a nighttime-only option, they’re a highly convenient option.
- SmileDirectClub is more experienced than their competitors
- SmileDirectClub has over 300 SmileShops located across the U.S. where you can get a free teeth scan and skip the impression kit
- Through SmilePay, every customer can receive financing, no credit check required
- SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners allow you to complete your treatment by wearing aligners just 10 hours per day
- SmileDirectClub has a mixed track record of customer service quality
- SmileDirectClub uses a mixed team of orthodontists and general dentists
- They used to have a manufacturing partnership with Align Technology (makers of Invisalign) but now they produce their aligners in-house
- SmileDirectClub charges an additional $99 fee for retainers after treatment
Just like the other three providers above, SmileDirectClub is very capable of correcting teeth spacing. But again, they’ll need to examine the condition of your teeth before making any promises!
Need More Information?
Choosing a treatment option is a big, personal decision, so of course you’ll want to gather as much information as possible. If any of the services above caught your eye, take a look at our deeper dive into the home aligner world in this comprehensive review of the top 5 options. There, you’ll find information about the advantages and drawbacks of each provider.
What Are My Other Options?
Home aligners might be the ideal option for your unique circumstances, but they’re not the right choice for everyone, and it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the other treatments available. This way, if it turns out that you’re not a candidate for home aligners, or you simply like another treatment better, you’ll be aware of the pros and cons for each option.
Braces: Braces have many years of impressive results to prove their effectiveness in treating tooth gaps, and they remain a popular option today. They’re sturdy and don’t require the daily discipline that aligners do. Plus, even though tooth gaps rarely require anything more than traditional braces, dentists have the option of including various appliances (like elastics) if your condition is complicated by bite issues.
Typical treatment time for braces is around 16-18 months, but this time can be drastically decreased if treatment is only for a minor tooth gap. Some people can even achieve desired results within about six months, depending on the severity of the gap. The major drawbacks of braces are the high cost (typically around $5,000) and high visibility.
Invisalign: Another highly effective tooth gap treatment, Invisalign offers similar results to braces, but without all the metal. The Invisalign system differs from home aligners because it’s administered completely by a dentist, not at home. This means that the dentist can modify your clear aligners with elastics or Invisalign’s “Smartforce” attachments to induce more nuanced tooth movements.
Your dentist will also be able to address any underlying issues that may affect your treatment. That said, this extra face-time comes at a cost. Invisalign is often slightly more expensive than traditional braces, and requires just as many scheduled trips to the dentist.
ClearCorrect: If you’re set on in-office clear aligner treatment, but aren’t sold on Invisalign, look into their biggest competitor: ClearCorrect. Their process is almost identical to Invisalign – your dentist or orthodontist will evaluate your condition, then administer them and evaluate your progress during regular office visits.
These aligners can also incorporate attachments to treat severe cases and bite misalignments. ClearCorrect isn’t quite as experienced or prolific as Invisalign, but they charge dentists less for lab fees, and your treatment might cost less as a result.
Veneers: These are thin, sturdy porcelain tabs that a dentist can affix to the front of your teeth, providing an instantly new smile. Veneers are a great option for anyone that wants a smile transformation without the discomfort of shifting teeth. The downside is that veneers don’t solve the underlying issue, and they’re not permanent.
Despite their sturdiness, veneers need replacement after 7-20 years and cost anywhere between $500-2,000 per tooth. Veneers also require the irreversible process of “prepping” your teeth by shaving down the enamel, which can result in the weakening of your teeth down the line. If you’re looking for immediate results with no tooth movement, veneers could be a good option, but if you want a more permanent solution, another route might be better.
Tooth gaps are incredibly common in adults and, most times, quite harmless. You have a lot of viable options when it comes to treatment, even if that means no treatment at all! That said, if you’re seeking a discreet, affordable, at-home solution, home aligners might be the route for you. There’s almost no risk to get started, as each of the companies referenced here will refund any startup costs if they review your impressions and determine you’re not a candidate.
But let’s not get bogged down with the details, because what’s most important is that you make the choice that’s best for your goals, timeline, and finances. Consider the pros and cons, consult your dentist, and evaluate each option. And remember, if you decide to keep that tooth gap, wear it confidently because it doesn’t make your smile any less brilliant.