Tooth Gaps: When is it a Problem?

Diastema (tooth gaps) can occur between any two teeth, but they’re the most obvious when between the two front teeth. Tooth gaps can affect an individual’s self-esteem as they grow older, and even affect speech development in young children. Most orthodontists will not apply braces or Invisalign until a child reaches 13 years of age, so what can you do about tooth gaps in the meantime—and when are gaps a problem?

When Teeth Are Undersized

This may not be a problem until the “baby teeth” are lost and new teeth grow in to fill the gaps, but small teeth can also occur in adults. There are a few treatments for small teeth and gaps in adults, so it’s a good idea to find a dentist that specializes in cosmetic dentistry [].

When the Gums Interfere

The tissue that extends from the upper lip to the gums above the two front teeth is called the labial frenum. This tissue sometimes grows too much and extends between the teeth, pushing them apart. Professionals may recommend self-correction with orthodontics that pull the teeth together and close the gaps, pushing the tissue out of the way. This issue doesn’t warrant surgical treatment unless it severely interferes with quality of life, speech, or diet.

When Bad Habits Cause Gaps

Habits such as thumb-sucking [], pacifier use after 12 months of age, and finger sucking can lead to tooth gaps, but also other misalignments and oral and tooth problems. It’s best to curb these habits in children before they become a problem and cause damage. Replace these habits with other healthy habits, such as water swishing or gum chewing. Discuss with your dentist if you have concerns about gaps or other damage caused from bad habits.

When Gum and Jaw Problems Cause Gaps

Periodontal (gum) disease can cause bone loss and may cause the jaw to stop supporting the teeth altogether. When a person loses too much tissue and bone, the teeth can loosen and shift, resulting in a gap. Unlike other causes of gaps, this can be a serious problem and result in a lifetime of oral and dental issues. If you have tooth gaps, accompanied by loosened teeth, pain, and gum problems, call Rivas Dental Care now to discuss periodontal [] treatment and prevention.

Prevent Serious Problems

The best way to prevent serious oral and dental issues is to keep up with routine checkups. Your dentist will see gaps or issues before you notice them and will also recommend treatments if necessary. If you have dental insurance, it should cover a cleaning every six months to a year, and oral examinations annually. Maintain healthy oral habits at home and follow your dentists’ recommendations for a healthy and long-lasting smile.

At Rivas Dental Care, we offer all of the services you need for your best smile. Are you interested in cosmetic dentistry, preventative care, or orthodontics? These are only a few of the ways that we help our patients with their smiles every day.

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