Kusp Pediatric Dentistry

Neonatal teeth

Can babies be born with teeth?

I remember the first time that I went to the NICU is residency to help a mother whose baby was born with two little teeth. The baby was premature and the mother was desperately trying to get her baby to latch and nurse but with two little loose baby teeth, both mama and baby were struggling. I came home that day and told my husband about my encounter and he was shocked to hear that babies can be born with teeth!

So, yes, babies can be born with teeth. These are called natal teeth when a baby is born with them, or neonatal teeth when the teeth erupt within the first 30 days of life (Cunha RF, et al 2000). Some cultures believed that the birth of a child with teeth is bad luck while other cultures believed that this would bring great success to the child. Well, whatever the legends are – we have seen many babies born with teeth and they grow up to be very happy children!

Natal or Neonatal teeth tend to be located in the center of the lower jaw.  These are typically the result of premature eruption (or growth) of the baby teeth that on a regular basis come in when a child is 6-8 months of age. Being born with teeth does not mean anything is wrong with your baby! We are still unsure what causes these teeth to come in early, it may be an accelerated development of the baby teeth. If your baby is born with teeth this may require a visit to your pediatric dentist. The reason we like to see these infants is because often times these neonatal teeth will erupt but do not have fully developed roots, this leaves the teeth loose and could pose a risk of aspiration. If the teeth are loose they may be considered for a simple extraction. Another reason we may consider extracting these teeth is because sometimes the new and sensitive tissue under the tongue or the lips can become ulcerated as it rubs on the teeth – this is called Rige Fede disease – and can cause the infant pain and discomfort, interfering with their feeding and latching. Lastly, we are concerned with the comfort of the mother. Nursing mothers have a very difficult time comfortably feeding their infant because of the pain associated with their latch if there are teeth present. All of these reasons are an important part of coming to see your pediatric dentist. Usually, when we extract natal teeth we also inform the parent that the child will have a gap in that area until the permanent teeth erupt as these natal teeth are actually just a very premature baby tooth. We always recommend saving these little teeth for the tooth fairy, just in case! Happy Brushing!

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Neonatal teeth - Kusp Pediatric Dentistry in Beverley Hills, CA