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The ugly duckling

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We have all seen children go through the stage where the front baby teeth have been lost and the much bigger adult teeth are coming down, and we’ve often wondered where our child’s heart-warming smile went. In dentistry, we often call it the ugly duckling stage.

At about the age of six, give or take a year, the lower and upper baby front teeth are lost and the adult teeth begin to erupt. {{more}}

Unfortunately the way these teeth erupt is often unpredictable, some may erupt at the same time and others with a few months delay, some crooked and others with large gaps between them, some behind the baby teeth and others way above the baby teeth. These large adult teeth often look out of place next to the remaining baby teeth that are so much smaller and whiter.

Parents are often concerned about the colour of the adult teeth, thinking that it is a result of the child not keeping them clean.

The adult teeth are light yellow in colour and in these children who still have their pearly white baby teeth, the adult teeth appear much darker.

So rest assured that these “ugly duckling” smiles will soon be transformed to “beautiful swan” smiles by the time your child is 10 years and most of the front teeth have erupted, the spaces closed up and the crooked ones pushed into place with the eruption of the adjacent teeth.

It is highly advised that your child is monitored by his or her dentist during this stage to ensure that all is going well. Of course not all children look unattractive during this stage, some are fortunate to get their adult teeth erupting at the same time and well aligned with their smiles remaining as beautiful.

• Dr France is a Dental Surgeon and the owner of Dental Care Dental Clinic. She can be reached at [email protected] or 456-2125.

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