Whether your child's new teeth are baby teeth or permanent teeth, a gap between the teeth isn't that unusual. In fact, gaps could be a sign of healthy dental development. These answers to commonly asked pediatric dentistry questions can help you determine whether or not your child is on track for healthy dental development.
Why is there a gap between my child's new teeth?
Gaps often occur between baby teeth because they're smaller than adult teeth, and the jaw provides a larger than necessary space for the teeth to grow. Spaces between baby teeth could be a sign that the adult teeth will have plenty of room to grow when they start coming in, and that's a good thing.
Even a space between your child's permanent teeth doesn't have to be a problem. For many children, this gap will close naturally over time as more adult teeth grow into the mouth.
In some cases, a gap develops between the two front teeth only. This occurs because of a piece of tissue between the two front teeth known as the maxillary frenulum. When this piece of tissue is positioned too close to the base of the gums, the teeth can grow with a space between them.
What should I do if my child has gaps between his or her teeth?
Your child should start seeing a pediatric dentist (like those at Kids Dental Tree) starting at age 1 or when the first teeth come in, whichever comes first. Your role as a parent is to take your child to the dentist and let him or her determine what the next course of action will be. As long as your child's dentist sees nothing that presents cause for concern, the dentist will likely choose to keep an eye on the situation and do nothing.
Does this mean my child doesn't need to floss?
You should still floss your child's teeth, even if there is a gap between the teeth, because food can still become lodged between the teeth and gums. In addition, encouraging your child to floss at an early age will encourage the development of good oral hygiene habits, and that can set your child up for good dental health in the future.
Will my child need braces or dental correction?
If a gap between your child's teeth is developing because of the maxillary frenulum, a frenectomy (a cutting of the tissue) may be necessary to correct the problem. If this doesn't work, braces may become necessary in the future. However, in many cases gaps between the teeth are self-correcting and require no outside interventions.
For more information about this matter and other pediatric dentistry matters, speak with your child's pediatric dentist at the next appointment.
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