What are natal teeth?
Natal teeth are teeth that are present when a baby is born. The teeth are often not fully developed and may have a weak root.
Natal teeth are not common. They are not the same as neonatal teeth that erupt in the child’s mouth during the first month of life.
What causes natal teeth?
The cause of natal teeth is unknown. But they may be more likely to occur in children with certain health problems that affect growth. This includes Sotos syndrome. The condition can also be linked to chondroectodermal dysplasia (Ellis-van Creveld syndrome), pachyonychia congenita, and Hallermann-Streiff syndrome.
What are the symptoms of natal teeth?
Natal teeth may sometimes look like normal teeth. But they are often:
- Brown or yellow
How are natal teeth diagnosed?
Your child’s healthcare provider or dentist can often diagnose natal teeth with a physical exam of your child’s mouth. Your child may also need X-rays. An X-ray makes images of internal tissues, bones, teeth, and organs. An X-ray may show a tooth root that is not fully formed.
How are natal teeth treated?
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Your child’s dentist or healthcare provider may decide no treatment is needed. In other cases, natal teeth may be loose because the root is not fully developed. The teeth may then be removed. This is done to lower the risk of your child breathing in the tooth into his or her airways. Or the teeth may be removed if they are damaging your baby’s tongue. Another choice may be to smooth the top edges of the teeth. This prevents damage to your child’s tongue.
What are possible complications of natal teeth?
Complications that may happen as a result of natal teeth are:
- Problems with breastfeeding. This is because your baby may accidentally bite you while breastfeeding.
- Injury to your child’s tongue
- Possible risk of your child inhaling the tooth into his or her airway and lungs if the tooth breaks free
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