When gaps appear in the smile of a small child, they often are there to make room for the larger permanent teeth. Therefore, seeing the gaps is not always a cause for concern. To make sure that the teeth are aligned correctly, we will need to take x-rays.
There is no direct correlation between crooked or gapped baby teeth and crooked or gapped permanent teeth. In most instances, gaps are considered good in baby teeth, as they leave more room for the permanent teeth to fill in the space. Gaps, therefore, may result from natural development. Normally, the canine teeth will fill in the gaps between a child’s teeth during development. Sometimes, gaps occur because a child is missing one or two baby or adult teeth, which causes an opening. In other cases, an extra tooth in the jaw may prevent other teeth from erupting, which can leave a space. Small teeth may also increase the space between teeth, thereby causing gaps.
If a child displays a jaw, which is relatively large when compared to the size of the teeth, gaps may develop. The lingual fraenum, which attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, may also cause gaps if the fraenum stops the tongue from extending past the lips. If this happens, a gap may appear in the front bottom teeth.
If a child has gaps between two permanent teeth, we refer to the gap as a diastema. The gap is most commonly seen between the front upper teeth. In most cases, gaps between the upper front teeth will close without any intervention on our part. However, if you are still worried about large gaps between your child’s teeth, you should discuss your concerns with us.
Do you need us to examine your child’s teeth? Do you feel the gaps your child displays may need orthodontic treatment? If so, check with us to schedule an exam and consultation to give you, our recommendations.