Why do we get gaps between our teeth ?- What do you need to know.
Having a gap or a space between your teeth? Are you at times, embarrassed of it, especially when smiling? Does the spacing bother you while eating? If so, you’re not alone. Spacing between the teeth is also known as Diastema. It is a relatively common dental concern that can occur in both adults as well as adults. However, in children, the gap typically closes when their permanent teeth kick in.
The most common occurrences of Diastema take place between the two front teeth, but gaps can still occur anywhere. There are several reasons why people have this extra space between their teeth—from genetics to age and facial trauma to dental procedures and more. Dental habits also play a part in the formation of teeth gaps.
Why am I getting gaps between my teeth?
One of the most common reasons in children and at times, adults, is because of tongue thrusting. Yes, tongue thrusting can contribute to the formation of gaps in the front teeth. Children who use pacifiers or suck their thumbs after the age of four or five are also prone to develop gaps in between the front teeth. Let us look at some of the detailed reasons why diastema may result:
- Trauma from Occlusion
Occlusion is the way the teeth meet when the lower jaw and upper jaw come together. Normal occlusion allows oral functions to operate properly, provides the best esthetics and is helpful in the prevention of any oral disease. When normal occlusion does not occur it is termed malocclusion and can cause trauma on the teeth.
Occlusal trauma can be categorized into primary or secondary. Occlusal trauma is characterized by severe teeth weakness, sensitive teeth, exposed dentin and tooth mobility. The secondary occlusal trauma includes the development of gaps in-between the teeth and drifting and tipping of the teeth.
- Jawbone and Teeth Size Ratio
If the teeth are too small compared to the size of the jawbone, gaps may develop between the teeth. This can be genetic.
- Missing or undersized teeth
This is one of the most common reasons for diastema to develop. Missing or small teeth create spaces or gaps in between the teeth. This mostly involves the pair of upper (maxillary) teeth (upper lateral incisors). If the upper lateral incisors are small or missing, a gap between the two front teeth develops.
- Oversized labial frenum
This type of frenum is located in the front of the mouth, between the upper lip and the upper gum and between the lower lip and the lower gum. If this tissue is especially large, it can change the way teeth grow in, can cause a gap to form between these teeth and can also affect dental health if it pulls the gum away from a tooth exposing the root.
- Gum disease or Periodontitis
As gum disease progresses, gums recede, and the jaw bone begins to lose support and density. Without this supportive base and weak roots, the teeth can easily move, creating gaps between the teeth.
If the gum disease progresses to an advanced level, known as periodontitis, the inflammation caused due to this, results in the loss of the gum attachment and bone support around teeth. This can cause an abnormal spacing or gap, to form between the gums and the teeth.
If you have gum disease, something as simple as hitting the back of your teeth with your tongue can push teeth forward and create gaps as the supporting tissues of the teeth have weakened due to periodontitis.
- Poor Dental Habits
Tongue thrusting, Lip Sucking, thumb sucking, and similar habits can cause teeth spacing. If you are someone who presses your tongue against the teeth when swallowing, you might end up with a gap in between the front teeth! Babies who suck on their thumb often are also prone to developing gaps as their teeth come through.
- Loss of primary teeth
This is most commonly seen among children. This is a temporary phase of diastemas when their primary teeth fall out. Once the permanent teeth develop, the gaps are filled in. When their permanent, or adult, teeth come in, these gaps typically close.
- Overhanging dental restorations (ODR)
Faulty dental restorations and prostheses are common causes of gingival inflammation and diastema. Overhanging dental restorations (ODR) is a major dental health concern. An ODR is an extension of restorative material which goes beyond the confines of cavity preparation. They have been strongly implicated as a contributing factor in the progression of periodontal disease which eventually causes teeth spacing and dental health problems. Removal of ODR can increase the effectiveness, however, you need to consult your dentist. Additionally, overhanging
Gives the plaque ample space for accumulation which can result in a change in the ecological balance of the gingival sulcus region with an increase in the growth of disease-associated organisms.
Is gaps between teeth Good or Bad?
Having gaps and spaces between the teeth can put you at risk for certain oral health complications. For example:
- Large spaces and gaps leave lots of room for tooth decay
- If decay and bacteria persist within the mouth, it can lead to periodontal disease. If it gets severe, periodontal disease can cause bone loss.
- Eating food may become uncomfortable – this may deter you from maintaining a healthy diet. The ability to bite well can also cause problems with digestion.
- Food particles stuck in the mouth can cause a number of oral diseases – cavity, gum disease, teeth staining and more
- A misaligned bite can lead to problems with your jaw bone, which in turn can put you at risk of developing chronic headaches.
It is extremely important to draw your dentist’s attention to this problem of Tooth spacing or Diastema as they will plan out the best treatment for teeth spacing.
How can I fix the gap between my teeth?
There are many ways for closing the gap between the teeth. Orthodontists and dentists will find the procedure that will work best for you depending on the cause of your Diastema.
Treatment Options for Tooth Spacing or Diastema
Some of the treatment options for fixing tooth gaps are:
- Use of traditional Braces or Invisalign – Although Invisalign have shown to be more effective
- Veneers or Bonding
- Use of Dental Bridge, Dental Implants
- Frenum Surgery
- Putting an end to poor dental habits like tongue-thrusting and thumb sucking.
Are you someone who is looking for a treatment for tooth spacing? Do you want to close the gap between your teeth?
Get in touch with us and we will help you bring back your confidence and your beautiful smile.
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