Many people are born with gaps between their teeth, particularly the front two teeth. These gaps can be a simple aesthetic difference or a cause of dental problems. Charles White, DDS, a Washington, D.C. dentist at 1AND1 Life, shares with WebMD Connect to Care the following facts about gaps between your teeth.
The technical term for a gap between your teeth is diastema.
Diastema for one gap or diastemata for multiple gaps are the terms professionals in the dental field use to refer to gaps between your teeth. The gaps can be anywhere in your mouth, but they most commonly occur between the upper two incisors—your upper two front teeth.
Many factors can lead to gaps between your teeth.
Often, a gap forms between the teeth as a result of being born with a jaw that is too large for the teeth, or teeth that are too small for the jaw. “The most common reason for gaps is simply having a tooth size to jaw discrepancy,” White says. Additional factors that can lead to gaps between your teeth include:
- Having an overly large tongue
- Gum disease
There isn't always a clinical reason to close the gaps between your teeth.
Many people who wish to close a gap between their teeth do so because they don’t like the way it looks. In some instances, gaps between the teeth are strictly a cosmetic preference, rather than an issue that causes health problems.
However, gapped teeth can cause speech and dental problems in some. If you want to close gaps between your teeth, invisible aligners or cosmetic options like veneers and crowns could be an option for you.
Gaps are hereditary.
While there are many reasons that you might develop a gap between your teeth, some gaps and tooth alignment issues are genetic in origin. “Gaps are hereditary,” White explains. “So if both your parents had a gap, there is a strong chance you will have one too."
A gap between your teeth is a sign of beauty in many parts of the world.
Standards of beauty vary significantly around the world. While a gap between the front teeth is not a typical standard of beauty in the United States, it is in other countries, such as Ghana and Nigeria. In these cultures, a gap between the front teeth is often considered a sign of beauty and attractiveness, leading some people to even widen their gaps.
Gaps between the teeth are becoming more en Vogue.
For many people, a gap between their front teeth is not a problem, but rather something that makes them unique. A number of celebrities, including Uzo Oduba, Elton John, and Eddie Murphy have embraced the gap between their teeth and made it a part of their signature look. This, in combination with shifting beauty trends, could even have contributed to the success of their careers.
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