Natal teeth are teeth that are already present at birth. They are different from neonatal teeth, which grow in during the first 30 days after birth.
Natal teeth are uncommon. They most often develop on the lower gum, where the central incisor teeth will appear. They have little root structure. They are attached to the end of the gum by soft tissue and are often wobbly.
Natal teeth are usually not well-formed, but they may cause irritation and injury to the infant's tongue when nursing. Natal teeth may also be uncomfortable for a nursing mother.
Natal teeth are often removed shortly after birth while the newborn infant is still in the hospital. This is done very often if the tooth is loose and the child runs a risk "breathing in" the tooth.
Clean the natal teeth by gently wiping the gums and teeth with a clean, damp cloth. Examine the infant's gums and tongue often to make sure the teeth are not causing injury.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if an infant with natal teeth develops a sore tongue or mouth, or other symptoms.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Natal teeth are most often discovered by the provider shortly after birth.
Dental x-rays may be done in some cases. If there are signs of another condition that may be linked with natal teeth, exams and testing for that condition will be done.
Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Ear, nose, and throat. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 8th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 12.
Dean JA, Turner EG. Eruption of the teeth: local, systemic, and congenital factors that influence the process. In: Dean JA, ed. McDonald and Avery's Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent. 10th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2016:chap 19.
Tinanoff N, Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2015:chap 307.
Update Date 2/22/2016
Updated by: Michael Kapner, DDS, general and aesthetic dentistry, Norwalk Medical Center, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.