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)

Dentistry & Beyond: Today’s Cosmetic Dentist

Fashion, style & the cosmetic dentistDentists: Is the “cosmetic dentist” morphing into a new creature entirely?

I’ve been having fun exploring some of the lesser-known areas of dental marketing. My article on holistic dentistry went over pretty well, but not everyone appreciated the humor in my description of dentistry and astrology.

This week I’m talking designer dentistry and high-fashion dentists.

Plumper Lips… from the dentist?

For Valentine’s Day in the UK, a Liverpool dental practice offered free lip augmentation. [Read more]

But this is no ordinary cosmetic dentistry practice. Tracey Bell isn’t just a cosmetic dentist – she’s a marketing-savvy entrepreneur who’s all over the beauty market.

With several clinics in the UK, the brand aims to meet virtually all the cosmetic needs of its patients. Here are some of the services offered:

  • “General and designer dentistry” (porcelain crowns, dental veneers, clear braces, etc.)
  • Non-surgical cosmetic procedures like dermal fillers, chemical peels and anti-wrinkle treatments (Botox, Restylane, etc.)
  • Laser treatments like hair removal, tattoo removal and skin resurfacing
  • Weight-loss services
  • Cosmetic surgery such as facelifts, breast augmentation and liposuction

The Tracey Bell – The Art of Reinvention brand also includes makeup and skin care products. [Visit the Tracey Bell website]

Designer Toothbrushes

Last year fashion designer Christian Audigier announced a partnership with celebrity dentist Dr. Eric Fugier. Audigier owns the “Ed Hardy” label, best known for its tattoo-inspired streetwear. But the LA-based designer has been working to expand the label from clothing into a total lifestyle brand.

So he’s licensing the Ed Hardy brand to the dentist, who plans to launch a line of Ed Hardy toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss and other dental products. [Read the press release]

Interestingly, though the announcement was made with much fanfare, the products don’t seem to have actually materialized on the marketplace yet…

Unclear on the concept

This amusing question was submitted to Yahoo [See the question]

“My dentist told me that I need to get a bridge. There is an Ed Hardy bridge that looks cool. Should I get it?”

The answer, from a dental hygienist, says it all:

“Is this a joke question? I debated whether i should even respond.

“The Ed Hardy bridge is a shoe. A sneaker. Do you really think your DENTIST is telling you that you need to get sneakers?

“A dental bridge is to replace a missing tooth. They put dental crowns on the two teeth next to the missing tooth space and connect that with a ‘pontic’ in the missing tooth area, so it looks like you aren’t missing any teeth.”

What’s next?

We’ll have to wait and see what the next big high-style “innovation” in dentistry and dental marketing… While it probably won’t revolutionize how you practice dentistry, it might be interesting!


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