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Having a “gapped smile” is very common in children.  But many parents ask our Boerne orthodontist if the spaces between their child’s teeth are a bad thing.

You’ll be pleased to hear that gaps between the teeth of children aren’t necessarily something to worry about, in fact, it can be a very good thing.

How Is A Gapped Smile Good For Kids?

The first set of teeth that your child develops isn’t permanent.  Baby/primary teeth are smaller and hold the place for the permanent ones that come in later.  It is a good thing when a child has a spaced smile because this means that they have more room for their permanent teeth to erupt straighter and without obstruction. Having plenty of space for the new teeth to grow in reduces your child’s chances of needing braces or having crowded, crooked teeth. 

When Is Having A Gapped Smile A Bad Thing?

There are a few scenarios where having spaces between teeth could be a challenge.  These include:

  • A thick frenum: The frenum is the strip of tissue that connects the inside of the upper lip to the gums between your teeth. If the frenum is lower, larger, or thicker than normal, it can cause a gap between the two front teeth. 

As your child grows, the frenum will typically get looser. But if it remains too prominent, the space between their two front teeth won’t be able to close.  Having a frenum reduction is a procedure that your child may need to allow the teeth to move closer together. 

  • Premature loss of baby teeth: Occasionally some children will lose their primary teeth prematurely, leaving them with a gap longer than intended because the permanent teeth aren’t ready to come in yet. This can be an issue because the teeth on either side of the space start to angle inward toward the void. If this happens, then your child might not have enough room left for the permanent tooth to come in when it’s ready. Planning ahead when a baby tooth is lost prematurely is very important. 

  • Missing permanent teeth: In some cases, a child won’t develop certain permanent teeth. Meaning if a baby tooth is lost and there are no permanent teeth to replace it, a gap will remain in its place. This is an issue that will require orthodontics or other restorative dental work to achieve the right appearance and function of your child’s developing smile. 

Knowing The Difference Between Good Gaps and Bad Gaps

Visiting the dentist and orthodontist regularly is important because we can keep a close eye on your child’s oral development.  A lot of issues can be avoided if we intervene early.

Our orthodontist, Dr. VandeBerg, and the excellent team of Boerne Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry are experts that are here to help you along the journey of achieving the perfect smile for your child. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.