In some cultures, a gap between teeth is a sign of good luck.
The reality isn’t quite as fun — gaps between your teeth can cause problems for your oral and overall health.
At Smile Design Manhattan in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City, our dental experts want you to enjoy optimal oral health. Here’s why we believe gaps in your teeth can be dangerous and what you can do about them.
What causes gaps in your teeth?
In many cases, a gap in your teeth (also called a diastema) is caused by genetics or a developmental issue that results in your teeth and jawbone being sized incorrectly.
Gaps can also be caused by childhood habits while your teeth are still developing. If you sucked your thumb a lot or consistently thrust your tongue between your teeth, gaps could appear as your teeth move out of position.
You may also have a gap between your teeth because a tooth never came in or one was knocked out in an accident or by an injury.
What problems can gaps cause?
Gaps in your teeth can complicate your oral and overall health. First, they can create a bite misalignment, causing your teeth to shift even farther out of place and lead to pain.
Chewing problems can also result. The gap can cause your bite to become more forceful and lead to chipped teeth.
You’re also much more likely to develop gum disease with gaps in your teeth. Food is more likely to get caught in the gaps, which promote the growth and spread of bacteria.
With more bacteria in your mouth, the chances of decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis increase. Bacteria growth can lead to bad breath and yellowing teeth.
In extreme cases, the gaps can lead to a bacterial infection, which can enter your bloodstream and eventually reach other organs, causing more serious problems, such as heart disease.
How are gaps in your teeth treated?
With all these potential problems, it’s a good idea to eliminate the gaps in your teeth. Depending on the issues you’re dealing with, orthodontic treatments such as braces or Invisalign® may be necessary.
In other cases, veneers that make your teeth larger may be a good solution. If a tooth is missing entirely, a dental implant can be the ideal replacement.
If you’re ready to do something about the gaps in your teeth, our team at Smile Design Manhattan is ready to help. Just call our office to set up a consultation or book your visit online today.