Teeth are both functional and cosmetic. They help us talk, eat and smile. They're also a sign of health and wellbeing, and the same holds true for baby teeth. A child's temporary primary teeth, or baby teeth, are vital for development. So it's no wonder that as a infant's first set of teeth begin to emerge from under the gums (usually between 6 to 12 months of age), parents will peer into their little one's mouths and hope those itsy bitsy pearly whites are growing correctly -- a process that began many months before they were born [source: American Dental Association].
Baby teeth start forming while the fetus is still in utero. In fact, every newborn has a complete set of baby teeth underneath their pink, tender gums. Their full set of primary teeth, comprised of 20 chompers in all, should be fully visible by their third birthday to help them with chewing, talking and even reserving space in their mouths for their future adult-size teeth [source: ADA].
Not to state the obvious, but since baby teeth are small and less numerous than adult ones (adults should have 32, including wisdom teeth), it's not unusual for gaps to occur between them [source: Shenkin]. This sometimes leaves parents wondering whether the gaps in their baby's teeth mean anything and whether this means their gap-toothed infants will grow to become gap-toothed teenagers and adults. Though the best way to ensure the health and wellbeing of your child's teeth is by visiting a dentist, do keep reading to learn more about the spaces between your baby's teeth and what they really mean.