Question: what do Elton John, Madonna, Condoleezza Rice and Chaucer's fictional The Wife of Bath all have in common?
Answer: they all have (or had) 'Diastema' – a noticeable gap between the two front teeth.
For the likes of Elton John and Madonna, the gap became a bit of a trademark.
But for those of us who don't want to have a gap between their teeth, different types of treatment are available – including porcelain veneers, composite bonding and the clear braces manufactured by Invisalign. London dentist Ethicare has helped many patients seeking these forms of treatment.
Attitudes around the world
Attitudes to gap teeth vary from culture to culture. In Nigeria, gap teeth often signify wisdom, beauty and fertility while in France they are called dents du Bonheur (‘lucky teeth').
The model look
Today, models Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger have taken to the catwalk and won praise for their natural gap-toothed. On America's Next Top Model reality show, a judge controversially suggested that one of the contestants should even consider a visit to a cosmetic dentist to "exaggerate the gap between her teeth".
Some people don't need to exaggerate the gap – gap teeth can be caused by factors such as tooth size discrepancy and genetics (Mick Jagger's genes might explain Georgia Jagger's Diastema).
Glafcos Tombolis, who runs London dental practice Ethicare with his wife Klaudia, stresses that gap teeth is mostly an aesthetic issue – it doesn't tend to cause patients any dental health problems.
3 ways of reducing the gap
To find out how retainers can help gap-reducing treatment and to discover how long treatment typically takes, please read the full version of this article.