One Sunday morning,My cousin discovered that his daughter had a tooth growing behind another.He immediately buzzed me and insisted that i go check into work and solve his daughter’s problem.I am not a fan of working on Sunday, that’s when i get to sleep longer and also go to church.I had to be creative to avoid disruption of my sweet sleep.I insisted that he takes a picture of the problem tooth and sends it to me by Whatsapp Messenger.

It’s  very common to find parents of 7-12 year old children,worried  about the alignment of the teeth. In fact many parents are so concerned as to summon a dentist at any time to sort out this ”emergency”.

So what’s the fuss?

During this growth phase, the child has a mixed dentition. A few permanent teeth have erupted and due to their large size in a small developing jaw, they have to find a way to fit and it will not be a straight row but path of least resistance, just like a river meanders to avoid hills.

Dentists refer to this stage as the ugly duckling stage, just like in the folktale where the ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan, it’s a temporary stage that eventually corrects and the children get beautiful smiles.

These days however, many more kids are experiencing delayed shedding of milk teeth and crowding when the permanent ones emerge.Evidence shows that diets have a role to play in this.Urban diets are getting softer and for that reason do not stimulate the jaws to grow as fast as they should. This problem is very rare in the rural areas where diets have a lot of fiber that calls for  thorough chewing.

Archaeological records show that the Neanderthals always had straight teeth because of their raw diets but now with civilized diets,jaws have become smaller,faces narrower and less attractive,according to Dr. Weston Price ,as reported in his 1940’s research.

Other habits that contribute to ugly smiles include:

Thumb sucking


                                                                                        Mouth Breathing


Tongue thrust




and teeth grinding while sleeping. If the above habits are discovered early they can be corrected using wearable appliances like the Myobrace. The other option is to get the traditional braces placed onto the teeth after age 12.

I was able to allay my cousin’s fears and get back to my sweet Sunday sleep with the help of the Whatsapp picture that confirmed to me that indeed there was no emergency.