Some parents are quite surprised when their "bundles of joy" are born with visible teeth. Approximately 1 in every 2,000 to 3,000 babies are born with teeth, and the teeth are usually present in the lower gums.
These teeth are referred to as natal teeth, which should not be confused with neonatal teeth. The difference between the two lies in the fact that natal teeth are visible at birth, and neonatal teeth push through the gums during the first month of life.
Remove the teeth.
Sometimes natal teeth are not secure in the gums. This can pose safety risks for babies because if the teeth fall out, babies could swallow them and choke.
Some parents decide to allow the teeth to remain despite being loose. If you decide to do this, you need to carefully monitor the child and routinely check to make sure the teeth are still in place. Keep in mind swallowing could also occur, and swallowed teeth do not necessarily cause problems. Use prudent judgement, and take your baby to the doctor if you suspect swallowed teeth.
Loose natal teeth will likely fall out on their own at some point. As a parent, you also have the option of having them extracted by a dentist. You may even choose to have this completed before your baby leaves the hospital. Do not attempt to pull your baby's teeth yourself,s even if they are wiggly.
Choose to leave the teeth in place.
If your baby's natal teeth are secure in the gums, you may choose to allow them to remain. This is because choking and swallowing are less likely to occur.
You will need to check your baby's tongue for lacerations. Cuts on the tongue are indicative of your baby biting his or her tongue. Your dentist may recommend extracting the teeth for your baby's safety and comfort. Also, check your baby's gums for irritation and inflammation. Look for redness and swelling. This may be a sign of a developing oral health condition. Secure natal teeth can eventually become loosened, and you should check for this.
Practice good oral hygiene on natal teeth.
You will need to gently wipe your baby's teeth and gums with a damp cloth as part of oral hygiene care. This is a good time to perform your inspection of the gums and teeth. Do not use toothpaste in your baby's sensitive mouth.
Pay attention during feeding times. Bottle fed babies could bite through nipples, which could result in choking on the torn nipple or strangulation from the milk. Nursing mothers need to be aware that babies with natal teeth could bite during nursing.
Speak with a specialist like Gerard Wasselle, DMD for specific advice in your situation.