Referred to as diastema, gaps in between teeth are common and typically do not affect oral health; however, some people can suffer from self-esteem issues due to unsightly gaps, particularly between their front teeth. In other cases, gaps can catch food and become a source of bad breath. If you are unhappy or afraid to smile due to unsightly gaps in your teeth, there are steps you can take to get you smiling again!
What causes gaps between your teeth?
There can be different causes for the gaps in between teeth, depending on the type of gap:
- Large parallel gaps between teeth are often due teeth that are too small for the jaw.
- Gaps between the two front teeth can be caused by an abnormal labial frenulum, the rubber band-like tissue connecting the inside of the upper lip to the centre of the gums. An abnormal frenulum can pull up on your gums, forcing the teeth apart over time.
- A different type of gap, colloquially known as “black triangles”, occurs when there is a gap between two teeth close to the gums. Black triangles can be caused by gum recession due to periodontal disease, food that gets trapped in the corners of the teeth, or simply the shape of your teeth.
- Thumb sucking after the age of five can cause teeth to become misaligned. This can result in a gap between the two front teeth, similar in appearance to a gap caused by an abnormal frenulum.
- Missing teeth.
Are gaps between your teeth a problem?
In most cases diastema is benign and does not require treatment. However, in some cases treatment may be beneficial. We recommend you contact your dentist about your diastema if:
- You have oral discomfort or a misaligned bite.
- You regularly get food stuck between your teeth, causing bad breath.
- You suffer from self-esteem issues and are reluctant to smile due to insecurity about your teeth.
What can be done to help fix your dental health?
If the gaps between your teeth have become bothersome to the point that they affect your daily living, there are several options you may want to consider in order to get you smiling again. These include:
- Porcelain veneers: Veneers are thin covers that are placed over your existing teeth to change their shape and fill any gaps that exist.
- Composite bonding: Composite bonding involves filling in the gaps with a material that sticks to your existing teeth, similar to a filling.
- Dental Braces: Braces can reposition teeth in your jaw, correcting crooked or overly spaced teeth.
- Dental implants: Dental implants can help fill large gaps, usually due to missing teeth.
- Surgery: If the gaps between your teeth are due to an abnormal frenulum, you may consider having it surgically removed by a procedure called a frenectomy.
Do you need more information on your oral health?
If you have decided to take action to fix unsightly gaps between your teeth, speak to your dentist about what options are best suited to you.