Babies are known for being cute, cuddly, and helpless. But did you know that some babies are born with teeth? Yes, it’s true! While it’s not common, it’s not unheard of either. In fact, approximately one in every 2,000 babies are born with teeth.
These teeth are called natal teeth, and they can be a surprise for new parents. Natal teeth are usually small and underdeveloped, and they are often loose in the gums. They can be located anywhere in the mouth, but they are most commonly found in the lower front of the mouth. While natal teeth are not harmful to the baby, they can cause some discomfort when breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
Understanding Baby Teeth Development
Stages of Tooth Development
There are three stages of tooth development in babies. The first stage is the formation of tooth buds, which happens in the womb. The second stage is the growth of the tooth, and the third stage is the eruption of the tooth through the gums.
Typical Timing for Baby Teeth
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 have 20 primary teeth, the timing of when they come in can vary.
The baby or primary teeth begin to come in (erupt) between the ages of 6 and 12 months. Most of the primary teeth will come in by 33 months. Girls tend to have their teeth come in before boys.
It’s important to note that natal teeth, which are teeth present at birth, are rare. Although their presence can lead to complications or indicate certain diseases, most babies who are born with teeth have no problems.
Phenomenon of Babies Born with Teeth
As a dental professional, I often get asked if babies can be born with teeth. The answer is yes, it is possible for a baby to be born with teeth. This phenomenon is known as natal teeth, and it occurs in about 1 in every 2,000 to 3,000 births.
Natal teeth are rare, but they can happen to any baby. The incidence rate varies depending on different factors, including genetics and medical conditions. In some cases, natal teeth can be a sign of underlying medical conditions, such as Ellis-van Creveld syndrome.
Types of Natal Teeth
There are two types of natal teeth: fully formed teeth and teeth buds. Fully formed natal teeth are teeth that have erupted from the gums at birth. Teeth buds, on the other hand, are teeth that are still developing and have not yet erupted from the gums.
Natal teeth can be located in any part of the mouth, but they are most commonly found in the lower front region. These teeth can be loose and pose a choking hazard to the baby, so it is important to have them evaluated by a dental professional.
Causes of Natal Teeth
Natal teeth are teeth that are present in the baby’s mouth at birth. Although the exact cause of natal teeth is not clear, there are several factors that may contribute to their development.
One of the main causes of natal teeth is genetics. Some babies are born with natal teeth because they inherited the trait from their parents. In some cases, natal teeth may be associated with certain genetic disorders, such as Sotos syndrome, chondroectodermal dysplasia, pachyonychia congenita, and Hallermann-Streiff syndrome.
Another possible cause of natal teeth is a hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. Hormonal changes in the mother’s body can affect the development of the baby’s teeth, and may lead to the formation of natal teeth.
In rare cases, natal teeth may be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to certain chemicals or medications during pregnancy. However, this is not a common cause of natal teeth.
It is important to note that natal teeth are not a result of poor oral hygiene or improper dental care during pregnancy. They are a natural occurrence that can happen to any baby, regardless of their mother’s dental health or hygiene habits.
Potential Risks and Complications
Babies born with teeth, also known as natal teeth, may face certain risks and complications. As a dental professional, I have seen cases where natal teeth can cause discomfort, feeding issues, and other problems.
One of the most significant risks associated with natal teeth is poor feeding. The presence of teeth in the mouth can make it difficult for the baby to latch onto the breast or bottle properly. This can lead to inadequate feeding and malnourishment. Parents should closely monitor their baby’s feeding habits and consult with a healthcare provider if they suspect any issues.
Another potential complication of natal teeth is tongue ulceration. The sharp edges of the teeth can cause cuts or sores on the baby’s tongue, leading to discomfort and pain. If you notice any signs of tongue ulceration, such as bleeding or redness, seek medical attention immediately.
In rare cases, natal teeth can also pose a choking hazard. If the baby accidentally swallows the tooth or a piece of it, it can become lodged in the airway and cause breathing difficulties. As such, parents should be vigilant and keep a close eye on their baby at all times.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
When a baby is born with teeth, it is usually diagnosed during a routine physical examination by a pediatrician or dentist. In rare cases, the teeth may not be noticed until the baby begins to breastfeed or bottle-feed, and the mother or caregiver may feel discomfort or pain.
If the natal teeth are not causing any problems, no treatment may be necessary. However, if the teeth are loose or interfere with feeding, they may need to be removed. In some cases, the teeth may be left in place if they are stable and not causing any discomfort or other issues.
Treatment options for natal teeth include:
- Extraction: If the teeth are loose or interfering with feeding, they may need to be removed. A pediatric dentist or oral surgeon can perform the procedure using local anesthesia.
- Bonding: If the natal teeth are small and stable, a dentist may be able to bond them to the adjacent teeth to provide additional support.
- Monitoring: In some cases, the natal teeth may be left in place and monitored closely for any signs of problems. The dentist or pediatrician may recommend regular check-ups to ensure that the teeth are not causing any issues.
It is important to note that natal teeth are not the same as neonatal teeth, which are teeth that erupt in the first month of life. Neonatal teeth may also need to be monitored or removed if they are loose or causing problems, but they are not present at birth like natal teeth.
While it is rare, babies can be born with teeth. These teeth are called natal teeth and can be a surprise to new parents. However, in most cases, there is no need for concern as natal teeth are typically harmless.
It is important to note that natal teeth may be associated with certain medical conditions, such as Ellis-van Creveld syndrome or Pierre Robin syndrome. If your baby is born with teeth, it is recommended to have them evaluated by a pediatric dentist to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
If your baby is born with natal teeth, it is important to take extra care when breastfeeding or bottle-feeding to prevent accidental biting. Additionally, regular dental check-ups should be scheduled to monitor the development of the teeth.
Overall, while natal teeth may be surprising, they are typically harmless and can be managed with proper dental care. As always, if you have any concerns about your baby’s teeth, it is best to consult with a pediatric dentist for proper evaluation and treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are natal teeth and how do they differ from normal baby teeth?
Natal teeth are teeth that are present at birth. They can be fully formed or just small buds of teeth. They differ from normal baby teeth in that they appear much earlier than usual. Most babies get their first tooth between 4 and 7 months of age.
What are the possible causes of natal teeth?
The exact cause of natal teeth is not known, but there are some risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a baby being born with teeth. These include certain medical conditions, such as cleft palate or Pierre Robin syndrome, and a family history of natal teeth.
Are there any myths or superstitions surrounding babies born with teeth?
Yes, there are many myths and superstitions surrounding babies born with teeth. In some cultures, it is believed that babies born with teeth are destined to become leaders or warriors. In others, it is thought that they bring good luck or are a sign of good fortune.
Is there any spiritual meaning associated with a baby being born with teeth?
In some spiritual traditions, babies born with teeth are seen as special or gifted. They may be believed to have a special connection to the divine or to possess supernatural abilities.
What is natal teeth syndrome and how is it treated?
Natal teeth syndrome is a rare condition in which a baby is born with multiple teeth or teeth that are abnormally shaped. It can be associated with other medical conditions, such as Ellis-van Creveld syndrome. Treatment may include removing the teeth to prevent injury to the baby’s tongue or other oral tissues.
Should natal teeth be removed and what are the risks if they are not?
The decision to remove natal teeth depends on various factors, such as the number and location of the teeth and the baby’s overall health. In some cases, natal teeth may need to be removed to prevent injury to the baby’s tongue or other oral tissues. If left untreated, natal teeth may cause discomfort or difficulty breastfeeding.