Gap Teeth: The Fashion Trend That Will Horrify Your Dentist

I was more than a little surprised when my dentist recently pointed out that she could fix the gap between my front teeth, since I hadn’t actually realized I had gap teeth.

But it turns out I’m just fashion-forward! On the heels of New York’s Fashion Week, the style press has been abuzz with the latest apparent fashion trend: a stylishly gap-toothed smile.

Gap Teeth on the Runway

Fashion model Lara Stone (the face of Calvin Klein) is one of the most visible expressions of this trend. A beautiful woman with space between her front teeth, she was voted 2009’s girl of the year by Vogue UK.

Of course, supermodel Lauren Hutton has been known for decades by her signature gap-toothed smile. When she began her career in the 1960’s, she was advised to “fix” her smile. Though she would often wear a removable device to hide her gap, the space between her teeth is actually the feature for which she’s best known.

A number of young models have found their gappy smiles a professional advantage, at least this season. Industry insiders attribute this trend to a desire for models who look more “real” and “imperfect” — faces with “character,” as they say.

Gap Teeth as a Style Statement

In 2008, fashion designer David Delfin made a bold and unusual choice when he had an orthodontist create a gap between his front teeth. “It was a metaphor for the separation I was feeling,” he said of the procedure, which he had done not long after the death of his father. He went on to name his spring 2009 collection “Diastema.”

A number of celebrities are well-known for their gapped teeth. The list includes Madonna, David Letterman, Elton John, Elisabeth Moss (of “Mad Men”), Anna Paquin (of “True Blood”), model Georgia Jagger (daughter of Mick Jagger), and models Jessica Hart and Ashley Smith.

But will the trend jump off the runway and on to Main Street? Will braces become a thing of the past? That seems unlikely.

“Feh. Call me when cellulite becomes the new favorite flaw,” said one online commenter.

Gap Teeth in My Mouth

My own personal dentist is relatively conservative; she practices cosmetic dentistry, of course, but she doesn’t push unnecessary treatments on her patients. When we were discussing tooth whitening, she casually mentioned that veneers were another cosmetic option.

“Any that way we could close the gap, too, if you wanted,” she said delicately.

I was momentarily taken aback, as I’d never noticed a gap in my own teeth. “Well, no, I don’t think that’s something I’m concerned about,” I replied. But it turns out I’m just cutting edge!

Gap Teeth Throughout History

In east Africa, gap tooth smiles have long been considered attractive. Some psychologists that this may be because children naturally have gaps between their teeth, and many physical indicators of childhood (like large eyes and an oversized head) are often considered attractive in adults.

In Western cultures — particularly in the works of Chaucer — gap teeth were once viewed as an indication of lustfulness and sexuality. Other historians suggest that gap teeth were viewed as a sign that a person would travel. as their teeth had already begun to travel.

Read more: We Don’t Mind the Gap: The Fashionable Flash a New Smile (Wall Street Journal)

About Julie Frey

+Julie Frey is the Editor of TheWealthyDentist.com blog. She has dedicated her career to Internet marketing and communications, working side-by-side with dental marketing guru Jim Du Molin since 2006. She has a degree in Linguistics from Stanford University, has a passion for language and writing, and lives in San Francisco.

  • http://1dental.wordpress.com/ Hannah

    It’s strange what some people decide is trendy and of-the-moment. At least this trend isn’t as directly harmful to the teeth as grills and mouth piercings.

  • Dental2010

    Hi,
    Veneers can be considered as a real smile makeover and if proper care can be taken they last for 5 to 10 yrs.Veneers can be done for damaged or chipped teeth,stained teeth,crooked teeth and gaps.

  • http://alliancefamilydental.com/cosmetic.html Emmy Summers

    Asking your dentist for a gap tooth is definitely not a good investment if you ask me. If you already have a gap tooth, then congratulations – you are currently trending! Mind you that, like all trends, this gap tooth thing will soon pass. So if you’re planning to have one just for the sake of trending, do yourself (and your healthy chompers) some favor and don’t get a gap.

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