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Natal Teeth

What are natal teeth?

Natal teeth are teeth that are present when the infant is born. About 1 in every 2,000 newborn infants have natal teeth. These are not the same as neonatal teeth that erupt in the infant's mouth during the first month of life. Natal teeth are often loose because the root is not completely developed. Problems that may happen as a result of these teeth include the following:

  • Problems with breastfeeding, as the infant may bite the mother

  • Injury to the infant's tongue

  • Potential risk of the infant inhaling the tooth into his or her airway and lungs if the tooth becomes dislodged

Diagnosis of natal teeth

Natal teeth are usually diagnosed based on a complete history and physical exam of your infant. The teeth can be seen and a diagnosis is usually made simply on physical exam. Your infant's healthcare provider or dentist may also order X-rays. An X-ray is a test that uses invisible electromagnetic radiation to make images of internal tissues, bones, teeth, and organs onto film. An X-ray of the infant's mouth can help to evaluate the problem. Incomplete root formation could be seen on the X-rays. 

Management of natal teeth

Teeth that are loose may need to be removed to decrease the risk of the infant inhaling the tooth into his or her airways. They may also be removed if damage is happening to the infant's tongue. This will be decided by your infant's healthcare provider or dentist.

Online Medical Reviewer: Kapner, Michael, DDS
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2016
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