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Natal Teeth Can Cause Problems for Infants

Natal teeth are teeth that are present when an infant is born. About one in every 2,000 newborn infants has natal teeth, which are usually primary teeth (baby teeth) that have come in early. These teeth, which develop on the lower gum, are often loose because the root is not completely developed.

Usually, a dental professional or physician will be able to see the teeth during an examination. Your infant’s physician or dentist may also order X-rays of the infant’s mouth.

Natal teeth may cause problems such as trouble during breast-feeding, including irritation or injury to the baby’s tongue or discomfort for the mother, and risk of the infant inhaling a tooth that becomes dislodged.

Your infant’s physician or dentist may decide to remove the natal teeth to decrease these risks. If the teeth are not removed, keep them clean by gently wiping the gums and teeth with a clean, damp cloth. Examine your baby’s gums and tongue regularly to make sure the teeth are not causing injury, and contact a dental professional if the infant develops a sore tongue or mouth.

"Guideline on Pediatric Oral Surgery.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 2012.http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_OralSurgery.pdf Accessed 2013.

“Natal Teeth.” Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, February 22, 2012. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/MEDLINEPLUS/ency/article/003268.htm Accessed 2013.

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