Most people don’t want to have gaps between their teeth. Despite this fact, about one fifth of Australian youth endures noticeable teeth spacing issues. There is no one single cause for gapped teeth, but misconceptions about this condition abound. The following facts about gapped teeth might surprise you.
1. Gaps Can Form Between Any Two Teeth
The common belief is that gaps only form between the two front and centre teeth at the top of a person’s mouth. However, this is a misconception. Any two teeth can have a wider than normal gap between them, exposing gum and making it more vulnerable to bacterial decay.
When spaced incorrectly, the two front teeth on top create the most noticeable gap. However, in reality, the teeth with the most common spacing issues are a person’s molars. Molars are located at the back of a person’s mouth, and they are the most challenging teeth to brush and care for.
Here is how to check whether your teeth gaps are not too large: Floss your teeth every single day, and make a mental note of how easily the flossing thread fits between each pair of teeth. Take care to floss multiple times a day for better hygiene, and floss most frequently in the largest gaps.
2. Adult Teeth can erupt too soon
Though the inside of a baby’s mouth is filled with nothing but soft gums, each person is born with their dental blueprint. Each baby already has the amount of teeth they will ultimately chomp down with, except those teeth have yet to erupt. When baby teeth erupt on their own time that poses no issue and does not interfere significantly with spacing.
However, when adult teeth erupt too quickly, they overlap existing baby teeth, and thus spacing issues often arise. Some pediatric dental practitioners opt to fit their patients with teeth spacers in order to keep gaps to a minimum. However, tooth spacers can cause speech impediments and chewing challenges, so they are not a common solution.
3. Tooth Spacing Affects General Health
When there are larger gaps between two teeth, there is more of an opportunity for gum disease and tooth decay. Tooth gaps amass a lot of bacteria throughout the day. Though some of the bacteria can be brushed or flossed away, the rest of the plaque turns into a hard, cement-like substance that attaches itself to the teeth. Soon, the tooth gap is less noticeable due to the hard tartar that accumulates. However, the spacing is still there, and the bacteria accelerates the inevitable tooth decay.
4. Braces Are Not a Permanent Fix
When orthodontic patients opt for braces, they hope that this is a proven and permanent fix for their teeth spacing issues. Unfortunately, braces do not produce everlasting results.
Though this is not instantly noticeable, teeth move and shift inside the mouth. The slight shifts usually happen when a person is asleep. This creates noticeable spacing issues over time, even after braces are used and then removed. The only way to prevent ongoing spacing challenges from recurring is to use custom retainers or aligners each night to stop the teeth from shifting.
Large gaps in a person’s teeth are not only aesthetically distressing and unappealing. They can prolong speech impediments and cause challenges that make it difficult to maintain good oral health. Aligners are often the best solution for teeth spacing issues, but they are not a foolproof fix unless a person is willing and able to use them consistently.
Teeth spacing issues are not usually a direct result of dental neglect, but rather a genetic or individual issue that arises as children develop and transition from having baby teeth to adult teeth.