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As we dentists call it, gaps in teeth, or diastema, can be a nuisance if not addressed on time. Teeth spaces are natural in children but have an underlying cause in adults. Modern dentistry has diverse options to correct it.
Causes of Tooth Gaps
1. It is inherited:
- In comparison to the size of the individual teeth, the jaw is larger.
- Teeth that are missing from birth.
- The front teeth are pushed forward by a large tongue, resulting in gapped teeth and an open bite.
- Extra baby teeth obstruct the eruption of adult teeth, resulting in gaps.
- A thick muscle connects the lip to the space between the upper front teeth, forming a midline diastema.
2. It is acquired:
- Habits-like mouth breathing and tongue thrusting.
- Early tooth extraction causes adjacent teeth to tilt and migrate, resulting in tooth gaps.
- Gum disease and periodontitis cause gum recession and loose teeth, resulting in gaps.
Effects of Gaps in Teeth
- Midline diastema and frontal spaces appear unappealing.
- Food lodgement and the use of toothpicks inadvertently
- Gum infection results from deposits, tartar, and plaque.
- Cavities are caused by a buildup of leftover sticky food.
- Painful and hypersensitive teeth.
- A salty aftertaste and bad breath.
Treatment of Gaps in Teeth
1. Teeth straightening: It can close gaps by aligning the teeth. The procedure is overseen by an orthodontist. They will provide you with 3 options for tooth alignment.
- Aligners are a more aesthetic and time-saving alternative to braces.
- Retainers and appliances.
2. Dental bonding or fillings: A resin material that is adhesive and esthetic can be used to close midline diastema and minor front spaces in the teeth. It does, however, come with food restrictions and a short lifespan.
3. Veneers: They are a less invasive procedure with high aesthetic value. Ceramic veneers or laminates as thin as optical lenses are used to treat minor spacing and misalignment in the front teeth.
4. Ceramic crowns: Teeth capping is a common procedure used to close gaps in the back teeth. It keeps fibrous food out of your teeth and keeps your gums healthy.
5. Ceramic bridges and dental implants: A dummy tooth can help to close a larger gap between teeth caused by tooth extraction. A bridge relies on the adjacent teeth for support, whereas a dental implant titanium screw only replaces the missing tooth.
6. Laser gum surgery (LNAP): Gums that have receded can be recontoured to cover exposed teeth and gaps.
Keep your gapped teeth healthy with these easy-to-follow DIY tips:
- Make sure you brush in between your teeth.
- Floss your teeth.
- If the gaps are larger, clean them with a proxa brush.
- Make use of a water flosser that is commercially available.
- After each meal, rinse thoroughly.
- Brushing twice a day is essential.
Let's wrap things up with a few interesting facts!
Did you know?
- In African countries like Nigeria and Ghana, the midline spacing is a sign of beauty.
- Eddie Murphy, Elton John, Lara Stone, Jorja Fox, and a slew of other celebrities wear their gapped smiles with pride!
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