My teeth are starting to gap. I have had very perfect teeth for years. No gaps or cavities. Never needed braces.

They are starting to gap at 38 years old and I'm wondering if this is normal. It's noticeable to the point food is getting stuck in my teeth and it's starting to become unnerving. I don't even have cavities so is this normal? I remember having pain in my gums last year for several months but it went away and wasn't concerning enough to me. I faithfully get my teeth checked and cleaned every six months for years. The only thing that has changed is a new diagnosis of sleep apnea. Related? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 2

Conditions change

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While it is commendable that the past was very healthy, this often changes as we age.  Normally, periodontal disease is the most common reason for developing gaps.  However, you mention sleep apnea.  Are you being treated?  With CPAP or an oral appliance?  Both can move teeth, especially with periodontal disease.
I have had pts come in, stating they are faithful to their dentist, yet have significant periodontal disease (even to the point that some teeth needed removal).  I suggest a periodontal evaluation with a periodontist, and since you are in Frisco, go see Kent Smith for sleep information and options.

Mesial drift

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Thanks for your question! The truth is that teeth can move throughout life. It is called mesial drift as the teeth have a tendency to move toward the center (i.e., middle/mesial). There can be times of complete stability and increased movement. I guess, as the saying goes, the only constant is change. If you're healthy, especially as it relates to bone health, I wouldn't be terribly concerned unless there is an esthetic issue. If the food getting stuck between your teeth becomes too difficult to handle, you may want to consider orthodontic space closure to help with that.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
All the best,

Lyle M. Schofield, DDS, MS
Irving Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.