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. Natal teeth 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 Ellis-van Creveld syndrome (chondroectodermal dysplasia), 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 isn't 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 isn't fully developed. The teeth may then be removed. This is done to lower the risk of your child breathing in the tooth into their airways, having problems with breastfeeding, or 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 their airway and lungs if the tooth breaks free
Key points about natal teeth
- Natal teeth are teeth that are present when a baby is born. The cause is unknown.
- 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.
- They are often not fully developed and may have a weak root.
- They may be small, loose, and discolored.
- Your child’s healthcare provider or dentist may advise having them removed if they may cause a problem.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.