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Management of an infant having natal teeth


Eruption of teeth at or immediately after birth is a relatively rare phenomenon. These teeth are known as ‘natal’ teeth if present at birth and ‘neonatal’ teeth if they erupt during the first 30 days of life. Natal teeth might resemble normal primary dentition in size and shape; however, the teeth are often smaller, conical and yellowish and have hypoplastic enamel and dentin with poor or absent root formation. Complications include difficulty and discomfort during suckling, sublingual ulceration, laceration of the mother’s breasts and aspiration of the teeth. These situations would warrant extraction. If the tooth does not interfere with breast feeding and is otherwise asymptomatic, no treatment is necessary. Negative cultural attitudes towards natal teeth demand good parental counselling and vigilant management in relation to child protection. Both general practice dentists and paediatric dental specialists may be involved in the supervision or treatment of patients with natal and neonatal teeth.

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