A baby born with teeth is pretty rare, but it can happen. Let’s take a look at how neonatal teeth happen and what it means to be born with teeth.
A baby born with teeth is not impossible—uncommon, but not impossible.
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?
In this article 📝
- What are 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?
- Is natal teeth lucky?
- What causes natal teeth?
- Are natal teeth painful?
What are natal teeth?
First off, natal teeth are rare.
We’re not exactly sure how often a baby born with teeth occurs, but it’s somewhere between one in 7,000 and one in 30,000 babies.
These natal teeth 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.
Is it possible for babies to be born with teeth?
Can babies be born with teeth?
Yes, they certainly can, although natal teeth are very rare, occurring in around 0.003-0.1% of live births.
What is the difference between natal and neonatal teeth?
Natal teeth are when baby’s born with teeth.
Are babies born with neonatal teeth?
No, babies born with teeth aren’t born with neonatal teeth ‒ these are called natal teeth.
What do neonatal teeth look like?
Natal teeth don’t have roots ‒ they’re not ‘true’ teeth and are usually short-lived, either from being removed soon after birth or falling out at around 4 months old.
Natal and neonatal teeth are usually shorter teeth that look like incisors, gray in color, and often quite wobbly, due to their short roots.
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 of natal or neonatal teeth are linked to a medical condition.
Sometimes baby’s born with teeth, for no real reason.
If your baby’s 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 newborn’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 natal 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.
Unfortunately, we’re not really sure how many babies are born with teeth each year ‒ there aren’t enough studies done on how common it is.
But the number of babies born with teeth is between 1 in 7,000 and 1 in 30,000 births.
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 baby’s natal teeth are 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.
Should natal teeth be removed?
Sometimes, yes, if baby’s natal teeth (or tooth) are loose, your doctor may recommend removing their teeth while you’re still in the hospital ‒ if you opt for a hospital birth.
If you choose to give birth elsewhere, and you notice baby has natal teeth, it’s worth visiting your doctor as soon as possible, just in case.
Why are natal teeth removed?
If baby’s natal teeth are on the wobbly side, your doctor will likely remove them, to prevent baby from choking or swallowing them, which can cause damage to their mouth, throat, and tongue.
How are natal teeth removed?
It’s a delicate but quick procedure to remove natal teeth.
Usually, a topical anesthetic is used to numb the area so baby doesn’t feel any pain, and because natal teeth don’t have roots, they’re easy to remove and quick to heal.
How long does natal teeth last?
Most babies born with teeth lose their teeth within their first year.
It depends on how wobbly their natal teeth are at birth ‒ if they’re very wobbly, your doctor may recommend removing them, but if they’re just a little loose, they may stay in on their own.
Are natal teeth permanent?
No, natal and neonatal teeth aren’t permanent ‒ even if they do stick around after birth, they’ll usually last as long as milk teeth do, or fall out within baby’s first year.
Is natal teeth lucky?
Baby born with teeth superstitions surface in various cultures throughout the world, with all sorts of folklore springing up around this phenomenon.
There are also some baby born with teeth astrology superstitions.
According to Indian astrology, if baby’s Saturn and Mars placements are in a specific place in Mercury, they will be born with natal teeth.
What causes natal teeth?
To be honest, we don’t really know what causes a baby born with teeth.
While there are some links to some medical conditions and natal teeth or some babies born with teeth with a family history of natal teeth, some seem to have no reason at all.
Are natal teeth hereditary?
Maybe. There aren’t many studies on whether natal teeth are genetic, but this study suggests that there could be a hereditary link.
The study says that up to 60% of babies born with teeth had a family history of natal teeth.
The same study also suggests that babies born with teeth may also have cleft palates or cleft lips, which can also be hereditary.
Are natal teeth painful?
Not often ‒ natal teeth tend not to cause baby much pain while they’re still attached because they have shallow roots.
However, neonatal teeth may cause baby some pain, the same sort of discomfort as normal teething pain.
If you think your baby is having teething pain before 3 months old, have a chat with your doctor to see if they have neonatal teeth or if it’s something else.
So if your newborn is smiling up at you with pearly whites, it’s usually nothing to worry about.
Your baby born with teeth is just that extra bit special!
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