Dr. Greene’s Answer:
Natal teeth (teeth present at birth) are found in about one out of two thousand newborn infants. These are often (but not always) extra teeth.
Natal teeth may cause pain to the infant, poor feeding, and, if the baby is nursing, maternal discomfort. If they are not removed, natal teeth that are loose may dislodge and run the risk of being swallowed or being breathed in (aspirated). Natal teeth may also damage or even amputate the tip of the newborn’s tongue with strong sucking behavior. Rarely, natal teeth may be associated with rare genetic syndromes including Pierre Robin Syndrome and Ellis-van Creveld syndrome.
When a baby has a gap where a baby tooth did not come in (whether or not there was a natal tooth there first), that child should be evaluated by a pediatric dentist to evaluate whether or not a spacer is needed for that child to have optimal mouth shape when the permanent teeth come in.
Last reviewed: May 14, 2008