Help! My baby was born with a tooth!
Yes, babies can be born with teeth. In fact, 1 in 1000 babies are born with teeth present. A neonatal tooth is defined as one that that the baby is either born with, or that erupts in the first 30 days of life. To this point, despite all medical advances, no one has figured out why some babies are born with chompers.The more important question that parents ask when facing this scenario, is what to do if a newborn has a tooth? If the tooth is stable; i.e. not moving or causing any feeding problems then it can be left in. One should still use baby toothpaste to make sure the tooth is cared for. Also, regular checkups should be scheduled with the pediatrician to make sure there are no changes occurring. Careful observation of the baby’s growth chart should also occur as feeding problems may sometimes only show up if paid attention to. If the tooth is causing feeding problems, and there are signs of slowed growth, or dehydration; then the baby should be referred to the pediatric dentist. Depending on the severity of the case the dentist may either smooth out the tooth, or if necessary perform an extraction. Generally caution should be taken when performing an extraction on a baby. The baby should generally be greater than 10 days old, have no family history of bleeding disorders, and have had the newborn screen already performed. If surgery must occur before 10 days, then consultation with the pediatrician is necessary to lower the risk of hemorrhage. In summary, sometimes in life the tooth fairy may arrive earlier than expected, and this should not cause any concern as long as appropriate dental health is maintained.
Until next time; keep brushing!
Dr Ahmad Bailony is a San Diego native and a board certified pediatrician at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns. He is a partner at Bailony Pediatrics in Chula Vista. To follow his monthly blog posts, follow him at PediatricDentistSanDiego.com.