Julius Caesar, King Louis XIV, Hannibal, Mirabeau, Mazarin and Napoleon were said to be born with teeth. According to Shakespeare, King Richard III was born with teeth ‘such that he could gnaw a crust at two hours old’. In Poland and China a newborn baby with a tooth was viewed with fear and superstitious and in parts of Africa such a child was killed.
Approximately 1 in 2000 children are born with a tooth. Some believe that female babies have more chances of having natal teeth than boys.
Normally teeth in babies takes place at the age of 6 months. In 1950, the term natal teeth was coined by Massler and Savara, which means presence of dental tissue at the time of birth.
Nearly all newborn teeth are normal deciduous teeth. They are loose at first, because the root is not well formed and some babies shed the teeth in the first few days or after a month or two. Other children may retain them until the usual age.
Complications Associated With Natal Teeth
- One fears that the baby might inhale a tooth, which has been shed.
- Removal may be followed by hemorrhage if the removal is carried out during the phase of physiological hypoprothrombinemia.
- The removal of the tooth can cause malposition of subsequent teeth.
- They may cause sublingual ulceration, because they bend in the gum when the baby sucks mother’s nipples.
- Owing to deficiency of the enamel they often appear yellow in color and they wear down more easily than other teeth.
Management of Natal Teeth
Since the occurrence is rare and is associated with superstitions in some countries, it is necessary to educate the parents. It is important for them to recognize the complications and risks attached with natal teeth so that they consult with doctor to ensure their baby has healthy teeth.
Written by: Dr. Harman
Edited by: C. Soni