Newborns and Natal Teeth: How Some Babies are Born with One or More Teeth

Dentist Blog

It is hard to imagine a newborn baby emerging into the world with teeth—but it does happen. In fact, approximately one in every 2000 to 3000 babies are born with at least one tooth. Teeth present at birth are referred to as "natal teeth" and most often appear in the lower central region of the jaw.

Parents whose babies are born with natal teeth may be worried about what this means for their baby, which is understandable given the rarity of natal teeth. However, in most cases, aside from the obvious difficulties that may arise from a newborn having teeth, natal teeth are simply prematurely developed teeth and not a sign that something is wrong.

Natal Teeth Are Sometimes an Additional Set of Teeth

Although in most cases, natal teeth are milk teeth that have formed prematurely, in some cases, natal teeth develop in addition to a baby's normal milk teeth which generally erupt between the ages of 4 to 7 months old.

Of course, no matter what the case, natal teeth do present some unique issues for the child and mother.

There are Several Risks Associated with Natal Teeth

Upon discovery, doctors examine the teeth to determine their stability. Some natal teeth are firmly rooted in a baby's gums, while others have no roots at all. Teeth with no roots will be loose and must therefore be removed immediately because they present a choking hazard.

If the natal teeth are firmly rooted, they may be left as they but doing so could lead to some problems during breast feeding. Natal teeth are often sharp. This is not only painful for the baby, often leading to tongue ulcers, but also painful for nursing mothers during breastfeeding.

Removing Natal Teeth May Leave Gaps

Natal teeth don't have to be removed unless they are a clear choking hazard, however, when choosing whether or not to remove natal teeth, mothers should consider what the future might hold for their child. If for example, the teeth are prematurely developed milk teeth, then removing them will mean that those teeth will not be replaced until the permanent teeth come through in at least 5-6 years time.

This is why it is important that parents monitor the situation with their doctor or paediatric dentist. In later years, an oral appliance known as a "space holder" may need to be used to ensure that there is enough room for the permanent teeth to come through.

If natal teeth are well-developed and strongly rooted, though they may be painful for mother and baby at first, keeping them might be more beneficial. 


31 July 2017

Dental Care and Seniors: Helping to Maintain Your Smile

As you age, it can become harder to take care of your teeth. Motor challenges can make it hard to floss, while memory issues may make it easy to overlook brushing. Whether you are a senior looking for solutions to some of the common dental problems or a senior with specific questions about cavities or oral surgery, you have come to the right place. In this blog, I am going to touch on a range of topics related to seniors and oral health. This is the type of resource I wish my mum would have had access to in her senior years, and I hope you enjoy having access to it during yours. I appreciate you reading my posts.