Teething is a normal part of a baby’s development during the first year of life. Most babies get their first tooth between 4 and 7 months of age. The first teeth that poke through the gums are the central incisors, which are located on the bottom front.
While most infants get their first teeth months after birth, some babies are born with one or more teeth. These are called natal teeth. Natal teeth are relatively rare, occurring in about NJ 1 out of every 2,000 births.
It can be a shock if your baby is born with teeth. But you don’t need to worry or take action unless the teeth interfere with feeding, or are a choking hazard. Your pediatrician can help advise you about what to do.
Causes and Prevalence of Natal Teeth
Natal teeth can seem mysterious, but certain conditions can increase the chances of babies being born with teeth. Babies who are born with irregularities in dentin (the calcified tissues that help form teeth) may also have natal teeth.
There are underlying medical issues that may cause natal teeth. These include the following syndromes:
- Sotos syndrome: (cerebral gigantism) is a rare genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the NSD1 gene on chromosome 5. It is characterized by excessive physical growth during the first few years of life. Children with Sotos syndrome tend to be large at birth and are often taller, heavier, and have larger heads (macrocrania) than is normal for their age
- Hallerman-Streiff syndrome: is a rare, congenital condition characterized mainly by abnormalities of the skull and facial bones; characteristic facial features; sparse hair; eye abnormalities; dental defects; degenerative skin changes; and proportionate short stature
- Pierre Robin syndrome: Pierre Robin sequence is a condition present at birth, in which the infant has a smaller than normal lower jaw (micrognathia), a tongue that is placed further back than normal (glossoptosis), and an opening in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate).
- Ellis-van Creveld syndrome: is a rare genetic disorder characterized by short limb dwarfism, additional fingers and/or toes (polydactyly), abnormal development of fingernails and, in over half of the cases, congenital heart defects. Motor development and intelligence are normal. This disorder is inherited as an autosomal recessive condition.
What Are the Risk Factors for Natal Teeth?
In addition to certain medical conditions, there are a few risk factors that may increase a baby’s chances of being born with teeth. About 15 percent of babies born with teeth have close family members that had natal teeth when they were born, too. These include siblings and parents.
While there are conflicting studies on the role of gender and natal teeth, females seem to be more likely to be born with teeth than males.
Malnutrition during pregnancy is another possible risk factor.
What Are the Types of Natal Teeth?
While some babies are born with teeth, the situation isn’t always so clear cut. There are four types of natal teeth. Your doctor can determine which case your baby has:
- fully developed, though loose, crowns affixed to a few root structures
- loose teeth that don’t have any roots at all
- small teeth just emerging from the gums
- evidence of teeth about to cut through the gums
Most cases of natal teeth involve just one tooth. Being born with multiple teeth is even rarer. Lower front teeth are the most common, followed by upper front teeth. Less than 1 percent of babies with natal teeth are born with molars.
Some babies aren’t born with teeth, but get them shortly after birth. Generally seen within the first month of life, teeth that emerge soon after birth are called neonatal teeth.
According to the journal Pediatrics, neonatal teeth are even rarer than natal teeth. In other words, your baby has a higher chance (though rare) of being born with teeth than getting teeth a few weeks after birth.
Symptoms of teething can start as early as 3 months of age. But in these cases, your baby won’t get any actual teeth for a month or more after that. Neonatal teeth appear so quickly after birth that your baby may not exhibit the normal telltale signs of teething like drooling, fussiness, and biting their fingers.
When to Seek Treatment?
Natal teeth that aren’t loose are usually left alone. But if your baby is born with loose teeth that have no roots, your doctor might recommend surgical removal. These types of natal teeth can put your baby at risk for:
- choking from accidental swallowing of the loose tooth
- feeding problems
- tongue injuries
- injuries to the mother during breast-feeding
A loose tooth will be looked at via an X-ray to determine whether a solid root structure is present. If no such structure exists, removal may be necessary.
Should You Brush Your Baby’s Teeth from Birth?
Yes, it is important to clean teeth at whatever age they appear, but you should do it very gently as the teeth may be loose.
And as a general guideline for all parents dealing with new baby teeth, at whatever age they first appear, brush regularly as part of the morning and night routine – just before going to bed, using a flat smear of fluoride toothpaste until they are 3 years of age.”
Key Points About Natal Teeth
- Natal teeth are teeth that are present when a baby is born.
- They are not common. They are not the same as neonatal teeth that erupt in the child’s mouth during the first month of life.
- Natal teeth are often not fully developed and may have a weak root.
- They may be small, loose, and discolored.
- The cause of natal teeth is unknown.
- Your child’s healthcare provider or dentist may recommend having them removed if they may cause a problem
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. Growing Smiles is a pediatric dentist in Anna, Richardson, Plano, Garland, Murphy we have Pediatric Services in Texas: Early Childhood Care, Preventive Care, General Treatments, Sedation Dentistry, Special Needs Dentistry, Emergency Service and Orthodontic (Braces & Invisalign) For more information call us to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.