When you have a baby, you might think you get a bit of respite between the sleepless nights ending and the start of teething.
But did you know that 1 in every 2000 babies born will have teeth? We’re not talking about a full set of pearly whites here. They are known as natal teeth, and it’s usually only one or two teeth.
Teething is a big part of your baby’s development in the first year of life. Most start teething between four and seven months. The bottom front teeth are usually the first to make an appearance. Baby teething signs include drooling, chewing, fussiness, fever, ear rubbing and poor appetite. It’s a fun time. So why are some babies born with teeth and is it anything to worry about?
WHAT CAUSES NATAL TEETH?
Certain medical conditions can raise the chances of babies being born with one or more teeth. These include a cleft palate or an issue with the dentin that forms teeth.
There are also a number of syndromes that can cause natal teeth:
- Ellis-van Creveld
- Pierre Robin
A genetic component could also have a role to play. Having a sibling born with teeth increases the chances that future babies will have them also.
While these conditions increase the risk factors for being born with teeth, there isn’t always a medical reason for them. Like babies who are born with a full head of luxurious hair, it’s just one of those things.
ARE THEY REAL BABY TEETH?
Natal teeth can look like a regular baby tooth, but can often be discoloured or loose.
There are four categories of natal teeth:
- A tooth that has not erupted through the gum tissue
- Small teeth that have erupted
- Loose teeth that are not attached to any roots
- Fully developed with root (but may still be loose)
You might not notice your baby has a tooth at first and it will be picked up on the exam carried out on your baby soon after birth.
If it isn’t picked up and you notice it once you get home from the hospital, let your Health Visitor or GP know and they’ll be able to advise you on what you need to do.
DO THE TEETH NEED TO BE REMOVED?
Treatment will depend on the type of tooth. The tooth will be x-rayed to see if it has any roots. If the tooth looks normal and is not loose, it may be left in place. If the tooth is loose, it will most likely be removed to prevent the baby choking or inhaling it if it comes loose, preventing injuries to the tongue or problems with feeding.
The remaining baby teeth should continue to come in as normal so look out for all of the usual baby teething signs. Treat the tooth like you would any baby tooth and brush daily with a baby toothbrush or wet washcloth.