Try not to panic (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
Have you suddenly noticed teeny tiny gaps between your teeth?
Or have existing gaps started to widen?
This can be scary, we know, but it’s important that if you do spot spaces appearing and growing between your teeth, you figure out the cause – and get help from a dentist.
So, why do gaps between teeth suddenly develop?
Dr Martina Hodgson, principal dentist and Invisalign doctor at The Dental Studio, says there can be ‘many reasons’.
‘Causes include periodontal disease, soft tissue factors, age, and orthodontic relapse’.
Causes of gaps between teeth:
- Periodontal disease: ‘When plaque is allowed to build up around the teeth, which is full of bacteria, your body has an inflammatory response,’ says Martina. ‘This can lead to bleeding, swollen gums and loss of the bone support around the teeth. If this goes untreated it can lead to the teeth ‘drifting’, leading to spacing. Worse still your teeth can become loose or even fall out.’
- Soft tissue factors: Where your lips and tongue sit in relation to your teeth can lead to spacing, as they act as a constant force on the teeth, which can lead to tooth movement
- Age: ‘As we get older our teeth tend to crowd forwards,’ Martina explains. ‘But sometimes the reverse can happen, especially if you have had teeth extracted elsewhere in the mouth.’
- Orthodontic relapse: If you have had braces to close gaps in your teeth, they can reappear if you do not wear your retainers.
Dr Kailesh Solanki, a dental adviser at DentalPhobia, adds that black triangles between your teeth can appear due to ‘a lack of oral hygiene, including smoking’, and notes that these are usually spotted at an early stage by a dentist.
But with lockdown decreasing both our dental hygiene and our usual checkups, now is an especially risky time for the development of gaps.
So, if you do notice new gaps between your teeth, what can be done?
The first thing to do is to book an appointment with your dentist, who can figure out what’s going on in your mouth and recommend treatment.
Make sure you don’t let your nerves stop you from getting help. Yes, it’s worrying to suddenly notice spaces between your teeth, but it’s vital to get help as quickly as possible.
Staying quiet and hoping the issue will resolve itself will likely only make it worse.
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