Is your child in the ugly duckling stage?


Last updated Feb 5, 2024

Last updated Feb 5, 2024

Does your school going child have a space between their front teeth? Does it look like their upper front teeth are flaring out? Then your child could be in their Ugly duckling stage.

What is the ugly duckling stage?

Ugly duckling stage is also called Broadbent’s Phenomena or Physiologic Median Diastema. It occurs in the 7-12 age group and has these common features are –

– Flaring of the upper front teeth

– Empty middle space

– Empty space besides the central teeth

– Tilted lateral incisors

– Partially erupted teeth

Should you be worried?

No. There is nothing worry about. The ugly duckling stage is completely normal. Age group of 7- 12 years is the period of mixed dentition. Children have both milk and permanent teeth during this phase. The bigger permanent teeth slowly replace the smaller milk teeth.

The erupting permanent teeth put pressure on the roots of the primary teeth to help them their absorption and replacement. This causes about 2mm flaring of teeth.

Should you get treated?

No. The ugly duckling stage is self-correcting stage and does not require any treatment. Once your child’s canines have erupted the teeth tend to align themselves. The canines erupt by 12 years of age. After 12-13 years of age, however, flared, protruded or turned teeth, will definitely require orthodontic treatment.

Ugly duckling stage is called so, because kids tend to look unappealing with the gaps in between their teeth. This can cause self-consciousness in certain kids, especially in this selfie generation. So talk to your kids and explain to them that is just another normal phenomenon. Newer shiner teeth are just around the corner.

Remember to encourage them to maintain a good oral hygiene to preserve their teeth especially when new teeth are erupting. Poor oral hygiene during the mixed dentition period affects not just the primary but also the permanent teeth.

Brushing for 2 minutes twice a day without fail should become a subconscious habit. Teach them to floss and clean their tongue as well. Do not forget to take care of your teeth just like you take care of your child’s teeth. Visit your dentist every 6 months to catch dental problems early.



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scanO (formerly DentalDost)

Stay Informed, Smile On!

Author Bio: Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali is the Co-Founder and Chief Dental Surgeon at scanO (formerly DentalDost). A recipient of the Pierre Fauchard International Merit Award, she is a holistic dentist who believes that everyone should have access to oral healthcare, irrespective of class and geography. She strongly believes that tele-dentistry is the way to achieve that. Dr. Vidhi has also spoken at various dental colleges, addressing the dental fraternity about dental services and innovations. She is a keen researcher and has published various papers on recent advances in dentistry.

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