4 Dental Health Issues Arising From Gaps Between The Teeth
To some people, gaps between the teeth are just an aesthetic concern. Therefore, people who care little about dental appeal may not be worried about small or large gaps between their teeth. Unfortunately, failure to fill the spaces can cause various dental health issues that would cost a lot of money to fix. With this in mind, here are four dental health issues that may arise if you ignore the gaps between your teeth.
Changes in the overall bite
Gaps in the teeth can occur due to tooth loss, genetics and a size mismatch between the tooth size and the jaw size. Whichever the case, gaps can cause changes in the overall bite. The teeth next to the gap gradually shift or tilt towards the space. If you have multiple gaps, the teeth tilt more and become misaligned. This leads to a bad bite, which causes abnormal wear and tear of the enamel. A bad bite can also cause difficulty chewing and speaking.
Risk of tooth decay
Gaps between the teeth cause other teeth to shift, creating more spaces in the mouth. These spaces trap food particles that attract harmful oral bacteria. If you don't brush and floss your teeth after every meal, you may develop cavities and tooth decay. This is because the bacteria will feed on the sugars in the food particles and erode the enamel. Weakened enamel is at risk of developing cavities and eroding further. If you don't seek treatment on time, you may lose the decayed tooth or develop an infection.
Increased load on one side of the mouth
Gaps usually trap food particles, which complicates dental hygiene. Therefore, most people tend to favour the side with no spaces between the teeth. Unfortunately, chewing on one side only increases the load on that side and speeds up wear and tear on the teeth. The extra load can cause the teeth to crack, especially if you love eating hard foods. Furthermore, any filled teeth on the favoured side may break if you don't have dental crowns.
Increased risk of TMJ dysfunction
When natural teeth shift or tilt into existing gaps in the mouth, they cause dental misalignment. A misaligned jaw exerts pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and throws it out of alignment as well. TMJ misalignment causes jaw pain, inflammation and headaches, which can affect your quality of life. Severe cases of TMJ dysfunction may necessitate a jaw realignment.
Dental treatments, such as veneers, bridges, braces, crowns and aligners can fix gaps between the teeth. Veneers, bridges and crowns are ideal for small spaces, while orthodontic treatments are suitable for severe alignment issues. Ask a dentist to examine your teeth and recommend the best treatment for you.