Beyond Dental Aesthetics: 4 Reasons You Shouldn't Ignore Gaps in Your Teeth

Posted on: 2 November 2021

Gaps in the teeth usually result from tooth loss and undersized or oversized teeth. Also, if the teeth are too small compared to the jaw size, spaces may develop between individual teeth. Gaps are often viewed as an aesthetic issue; thus, people who care little about visual appeal may ignore them. Unfortunately, spaces between the teeth, regardless of their cause, don't affect dental aesthetics only. They can negatively impact your overall dental health. With this in mind, check out these four reasons you shouldn't ignore gaps between your teeth.

Tooth movement

When you lose a tooth, the teeth on the opposite jaw begin to shift and try to fill the gap. The teeth may even grow longer to fill the spaces. The teeth next to the gap move sideways to fill the void as well. This is also the case if you have large gaps because of undersized teeth. This movement causes misalignment, and it can further affect your smile. Misaligned teeth also affect how you speak and breathe, which can undermine your confidence.

Bite problems

Gaps affect how teeth bite together. The misalignment resulting from the shifting of the teeth can cause an overbite or underbite. Bite problems exert pressure on the teeth, leading to chipping and premature wear. Furthermore, when one side of the jaw has bite issues, most people chew on the other side. This puts more load and pressure on the favoured side of the jaw, leading to tooth injury and abnormal wear and tear.

TMJ disorders

Gaps between the teeth cause bite issues, which prevents some teeth from coming together properly. Consequently, the bite forces are distributed unevenly in the mouth. With poor force distribution, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) muscles become strained. Also, bite issues cause people to favour one side of the jaw, which exerts pressure on the TMJ. If you experience pain when chewing or a clicking sound when you open your mouth, you may have TMJ disorder.

Dental problems

Besides causing TMJ disorders, gaps in the teeth can also lead to other dental health issues. For example, the spaces trap food particles, even after brushing. They undermine dental hygiene and encourage bacterial growth and plaque buildup. Over time, one may experience tooth decay and gum disease on the adjacent teeth. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause individuals to lose more teeth in the future.

Gaps in the teeth can affect one's dental health and lead to tooth loss. Luckily, with treatments such as braces, implants, dentures, and bridges, you can fill the spaces in your teeth and prevent future oral issues. Consult your dentist to determine the best treatment for fixing gaps in the teeth.