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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Baby born with two teeth

02/09/2007

Question:

Our son was born in 1958 with two lower front teeth, This apparently runs in our family as his great grandmother on his mother`s father`s side was also born with two teeth. In the new area of DNA, do we know what causes this phenomenon?

Answer:

Great question. The condition you are describing is known as natal teeth. The incidence has been reported to be approximately 1:3000 births.

There are indeed certain genetic syndromes (such as those with cleft lip and/or palate) that make one more likely to have natal teeth. Current theories tend to associate natal teeth as an autosomal dominant condition genetically. In terms of basic genetics, the chance of inheriting an autosomal dominant condition is 50% if the condition is in one parent. The condition can be passed from generation to generation. A natal tooth is not an "extra tooth" but is often the baby teeth which have come into the mouth very prematurely and often have little or no root formation.

From a treatment perspective, not only is aspiration (inhaling a foreign body into the lungs) a major concern, but also a condition known as Riga Fede disease in which the natal tooth can cause an ulcer on the bottom of the tongue interfering with feeding. A child born with teeth or getting teeth soon after birth should be evaluated by a dentist for possible removal of the natal tooth.

Thanks for the question.

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Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University