Breaking news: a baby born with teeth is not an impossibility—uncommon, but not an impossibility.
These teeth are called natal teeth, different from neonatal teeth which arrive in the first month of your baby’s life (and that arrive months before teething is expected).
So why does early teething happen—and what should you do if your baby arrives with a pearly white or two intact?
Let’s take a look.
In this article 📝
- The lowdown on natal teeth
- What does it mean when babies are born with teeth?
- How many babies are born with a full set of teeth?
- Do natal teeth fall out?
The lowdown on natal teeth
Natal teeth are rare.
We’re not exactly sure how often they occur, but it’s somewhere between one in 7,000 and one in 30,000 babies.
They often pop through the lower gums, near the center of the mouth, where the central incisors would be.
About 90% of them are regular milk teeth, while the remaining 10% are supernumerary (AKA extra) teeth.
Natal teeth are usually smaller than other kinds of primary teeth and are often pretty wobbly because they don’t have much of a root structure.
Also, they tend to be discolored because the enamel is thinner than normal, or non-existent.
What does it mean when babies are born with teeth?
We don’t know exactly why some babies are born with teeth.
Teething has a hereditary link (that is, families tend to share similar kinds of teething stories) but with natal teeth, the stats just don’t paint a clear enough picture for us to say for sure either way.
Some research points to a link between natal teeth and other medical conditions such as cleft palate, Sotos syndrome, Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome, Hallermann Streiff syndrome and Pierre-Robin syndrome.
But it’s important to note that not all cases are linked to a medical condition.
Sometimes it really just happens.
If your baby is born with teeth, your pediatrician or pediatric dentist will help you figure out the best course of action.
One risk is that your baby might swallow a tooth if it comes loose.
Natal teeth can also get in the way of breastfeeding, as they can hurt your baby’s tongue and cause painful ulcers.
Your nipples might also be vulnerable to injury.
Put this all together and both of you may be more than a little weary when it comes to feeding time.
(Breastfeeding can be a challenge at the best of times.
Working with your doctor and possibly a lactation specialist can help make the journey a lot less isolating.)
In most cases, you’ll be able to manage your baby’s natal teeth at home by gently wiping the tooth and gum area with a damp cloth and checking for any injuries.
If your doctor is worried about the tooth (or teeth) falling out, or has concerns about other medical conditions, they may recommend that the tooth (or teeth) be removed.
How many babies are born with a full set of teeth?
Baby born with full set of teeth seems like quite the headline—but, to date, it would be fiction rather than fact.
When it comes to natal teeth, it’s usually more of a natal tooth.
Baby born with teeth superstitions surface in various cultures throughout the world, with all sorts of folklore springing up around this phenomenon.
In England, a baby born with teeth was set to conquer the world, in some Malaysian communities it’s said to be good luck, and in some Chinese communities, it’s thought to be bad luck.
Do natal teeth fall out?
Yes—some sooner rather than later.
About one- to two-thirds of natal teeth fall out in your baby’s first year.
If they’re still there when your baby’s about four months old, they’ll probably stick around and fall out with their other milk teeth.
Either way, you don’t have to navigate this alone.
Your healthcare professionals will help you plan the best course of action for you and your baby.
We wish you all the best.
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What to Know About Newborn Jaundice
Should You Worry About a Newborn Rash?
Newborn Not Pooping But Passing Gas? What to Know