Baby Born With Teeth. Should You Be Concerned?

Natal teeth are teeth that are present at birth. Although the occurrence of natal teeth is uncommon, their presence can lead to complications or indicate certain diseases. This article will discuss the causes and characteristics of natal teeth, how natal teeth are diagnosed, the risks of having natal teeth, and whether natal teeth should be removed.

Key takeaways:

Can babies be born with teeth?

Yes, but it is uncommon for babies to be born with teeth. When babies are born with teeth, these are called natal teeth. They may also be called congenital teeth or fetal teeth. Natal teeth typically occur in pairs and the eruption of more than two natal teeth is very rare.

Approximately 1:2,000 to 3,000 births result in natal teeth. Parents may worry that something is “wrong” with their baby if they have natal teeth. Usually, natal teeth are not caused by a medical condition and are simply a rare deviation from typical dental development.

What are natal teeth like in newborns?

Natal teeth are teeth that are present at birth. In most cases, natal teeth are simply a child’s normal baby teeth that have erupted early. They usually occur in pairs along the lower front gums.

Natal teeth may look like normal baby teeth or they may be smaller than normal. They can vary in color from white to yellowish. Natal teeth are usually not well-formed. They often have poor root structure and are wiggly.

Natal teeth are not permanent (adult) teeth. They are primary (baby) teeth, so if left alone, they will typically fall out on their own around age 6.

What causes natal teeth?

Besides certain medical conditions, the exact causes of natal teeth are not fully understood. Recent studies suggest that most natal teeth occur due to the superficial positioning of the tooth germ while in utero. This positioning encourages the tooth to erupt early.

Natal teeth can sometimes occur as the result of certain medical conditions, including:

  • Ellis-van-Creveld Syndrome;
  • Soto Syndrome;
  • Hallerman-Streiff Syndrome;
  • Pierre-Robin Syndrome;
  • Jadassohn-Lewandowsky Syndrome;
  • Wiedemann-Rautenstrauch Syndrome;
  • Cleft Palate.

The presence of natal teeth can also be hereditary if they are caused by a genetic condition or if immediate family members have a history of natal teeth. According to one study, 15% of babies born with natal teeth had immediate family members also born with the condition. Otherwise, natal teeth are simply a phenomenon of unknown origin.

Current research has not found a link between the sex of the baby and natal teeth occurrence. This means that natal teeth occur relatively equally among baby boys and baby girls.

How are natal teeth diagnosed?

Natal teeth are diagnosed at birth during the baby’s physical examination. The healthcare provider will visually examine the baby’s mouth to assess for the presence of natal teeth. Your child’s healthcare provider may also order x-rays to get a better view of the teeth and root structure.

Risks of natal teeth

While natal teeth are typically not a cause for concern, they can lead to potential problems, such as:

  • Feeding difficulties due to discomfort while suckling;
  • Tongue ulceration due to rubbing of the tongue against the teeth;
  • Choking due to the teeth becoming dislodged.

Your child’s healthcare provider will weigh these risks carefully and help you decide whether or not the teeth are safe to remain in place or if they need to be removed.

Do natal teeth need to be removed?

The decision to remove natal teeth is often based on parental preference and whether or not the teeth are causing feeding difficulties or injury to the baby. Your child’s healthcare provider can help you make this decision

As long as the teeth are not causing problems, it is generally safe to leave them in place until they naturally fall out. However, if the teeth are especially loose, many healthcare providers will recommend removal of the teeth to prevent the baby from inhaling and choking on them.

Your child has natal teeth – what to do?

If your baby has natal teeth, you can care for them like you would teeth that erupt later. Clean the teeth by gently wiping the tooth and gums with a clean, damp cloth. It is also recommended that you examine your child’s gums and tongue often to make sure the teeth are not causing injury.

If you notice your baby is not feeding well, is losing weight, or is having fewer wet diapers, it could be a sign that the natal teeth are interfering with their ability to feed. In this case, it is best to talk to your child’s healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.

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