For some people, having a gap in between their front teeth is a “flaw” they see as a unique, but positive feature. For others, having gapped teeth is an embarrassing and annoying trait that they would rather live without.
A gap between the teeth, medically known as diastema, most commonly occurs between the upper front teeth, but can happen between any two of your teeth. At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we have seen many patients with gaps in their smile. In some cases, these gaps are nothing more than an aesthetic issue. But more times than not, gapped teeth can come with an increased risk of oral health problems.
If you have one or more gaps between your teeth, it’s important to understand the potential risks and learn more about why you should consider doing something about that extra space.
What Causes Gapped Teeth?
Gaps between teeth can develop during childhood or adulthood. Typically, gapped teeth are caused by the following:
- Missing teeth – When you lose one or more teeth, a gap is formed. If the tooth isn’t replaced, that gap leaves room for the rest of your teeth to become misaligned.
- Trauma – Facial trauma can cause gaps between your teeth to gradually develop.
- Genetics – Gaps between teeth can be formed when a person’s teeth are too small for their jaw bone, causing their teeth to be spaced too far apart. The size of your teeth and jaw bone are often determined by genetics.
How Gapped Teeth Affect Oral Health
When you have significant gaps between your teeth or spaces left by missing teeth, you are more susceptible to oral health problems. Those gaps serve as breeding grounds for harmful bacteria that can be hard to get rid of with regular brushing alone.
When these bacteria linger on your teeth, they start to eat away the tooth’s surface, causing cavities. Cavities that aren’t treated soon enough can lead to tooth loss.
Additional oral health problems associated with gapped teeth include bad breath and painful mouth sores.
Treatment for Gapped Teeth
The good news is that there are several treatment options available to fix gapped teeth and improve your oral health. Depending on your individual needs, treatment options may include:
- Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners that are custom-made to fit over your teeth. They are removed only when you eat, drink, and clean your teeth. By using a set number of strategically designed aligners, your teeth are gradually repositioned.
- Fastbraces can correct your crooked teeth in a matter of months, as its innovative system moves your teeth crowns (white part) and roots at the same time.
If the gaps in your smile are caused by missing teeth, we have several tooth restoration options that we can discuss with you. To learn more about how we can correct your smile, help give you self-confidence a boost, and improve your oral health, call Beaumont Family Dentistry today at one of our three Lexington locations.