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Natal teeth

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.

Considerations

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 of "breathing in" the tooth.

Causes

Most of the time, natal teeth are not related to a medical condition. However, sometimes they may be associated with:

Home Care

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 may need to be done.

Alternative Names

Fetal teeth; Congenital teeth; Predeciduous teeth; Precocious teeth

References

Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Ears, nose, and throat. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 9th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019:chap 13.

Dhar V. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, , St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 333.

Martin B, Baumhardt H, D'Alesio A, Woods K. Oral disorders. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 21.

Review Date 2/6/2020

Updated by: Michael Kapner, DDS, Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.