Should You Have Your Baby's Natal Tooth Removed?

Posted on: 3 October 2018

The last thing you expected to see in your baby's mouth immediately after birth is a tooth. While it's rare for children to be born with teeth in place, it does sometimes happen. Known as natal teeth, these teeth can pose problems. Do you need to have the tooth removed?

When Natal Teeth Should Be Removed 

Natal teeth are sometimes fully-formed baby teeth; sometimes you see just part of the tooth coming through. Even though the tooth may look like a regular tooth, it may not have a completely normal structure.

For example, the tooth may look fully formed; however, it may not have a fully developed root system to support it. In this case, the tooth itself is often very loose. There is a risk here that the tooth will come out on its own and your baby might swallow it or breathe it in accidentally. If the tooth doesn't have a firm root to hold it in place, then your hospital doctors may recommend you have it removed immediately to avoid this happening.

When Natal Teeth Should Be Left Alone

If the tooth has a strong underlying structure and is basically just a well-formed early tooth, then you may be advised to leave it in place. Typically, the tooth won't give your baby any problems, and you can leave it in until the rest of the baby teeth catch up with it.

If your baby has a natal tooth that is left in place, then you should make your dentist aware of the tooth. Your dentist can help you set up an early tooth cleaning and care routine to ensure that the tooth stays healthy. They can also monitor how your baby – and you – cope with having a tooth there so early. This isn't generally an issue; however, you may have concerns later.

When Natal Teeth Become a Problem

Even though a correctly formed natal tooth isn't typically a problem, it may need attention down the line. For example, the tooth may make it harder for your baby to feed. It may also make early breastfeeding more painful than it should be for you. In some cases, the tooth may rub against your baby's tongue and make it sore.

If you notice any of these problems, talk to your dentist. They can help you manage any issues and will explain how to have the natal tooth extracted if this becomes necessary.