In the past, gapped front teeth were considered geeky, nerdy and kind of awkward. However, today's trends brand them as “perfect imperfections” – the latest beauty must have. In France they are called the “dents du Bonheur” (“teeth of luck”) and over in Nigeria, some consider them to be a sign of a strong sexual nature.
Would you be willing to surgically get a gap?
For many, the memory of years spent with heavy metal braces remains vivid, and painful: Teeth clanging together during a first kiss, the excruciating pain of re-tightening. But others left theirs uncorrected, and are intriguing because of it. Think of Madonna, models Georgia May Jagger and Lara Stone, True Blood star Anna Paquin and Chanel muse Vanessa Paradis. They represent the modern gap-mouthed beauty – and a minority. Less than 10 per cent of people are naturally gap-toothed.
“It’s a trend towards individuality,” says dental surgeon Debra Glassman. “The idea that a gap-toothed woman is more sexy holds weight when you think of those showing them off today.”
The natural smile
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Irwin Smigel claims people are coming to him to make their smiles look more natural. “Natural-looking teeth have gradations in tone, tiny imperfections in shape, and can even vary by skin tone,” he says.
“Perfect teeth look like you’re trying too try hard and a gap will invariably imply that the smile is natural.”
The question is, how far will you go to get the look?
Glassman’s clients are prepared to pay on average $1,200 to have a permanent gap cosmetically created. Once she and a patient have settled on the size of the space, she removes the tooth area on either side to be “gapped,” making a mold of those teeth that were altered. The mould will be used to create fingernail-thin porcelain coverings for the teeth on either side of the gap.
As with most procedures, there are drawbacks, such as increased sensitivity caused by reducing the adjacent teeth and weakened bone support when the gap is created via orthodontic braces.
But that hasn’t stopped the vain clients willing to do this. In Smigel’s opinion, “Gaps look great, it’s just a question of whether or not the person can pull it off.”