If your baby was born with teeth already in place, these are called natal teeth. The teeth usually appear on the lower gum line and can either look like shrunken down baby teeth or like yellowish sharp cone shapes. Development of baby teeth can cause feeding problems, resulting in malnutrition, and cuts to the tongue due to sharpness.
The dental treatment route depends on the type of natal teeth your baby has and how the teeth are impacting the baby's comfort and development.
Diagnosing the Teeth
Your pediatric dentist will perform x-rays to see if the natal teeth are baby teeth that appeared early or extra teeth that aren't needed. In the latter case, the dentist might extract the teeth.
Natal teeth often have weak root structures so a simple numbing cream is usually enough to allow for pain-free extraction. You will need to be extra diligent in the following days to keep the extraction area clean, but your baby will recover quickly from the procedure.
If the natal teeth are baby teeth that emerged early, the dentist might want to leave the teeth in place so there aren't gaps when the rest of the teeth develop. Gaps can cause the other baby teeth to start leaning inwards towards the holes, which can in turn cause uncomfortable bite problems.
Increasing Your Baby's Comfort
If the dentist wants to leave the teeth in your baby's mouth, there still might be treatment options that can make the teeth more comfortable.
For example, if the teeth are overly sharp, the dentist might be able to file the teeth gently into a softer shape. A small version of dental crowns – a composite material put over teeth for protection – could also be used to cover any sharp spots that could hurt your baby's tongue or lips.
Establishing Specialized Oral Health Routine
Your dentist might prescribe a fluoride toothpaste or solution that you can use on the natal teeth. This ensures that the protective enamel around the teeth stays healthy as the teeth hopefully grown in as full baby teeth.
It's also important to check the teeth daily for any signs of looseness. The lack of strong root support means the teeth can potentially fall out – and head straight down your baby's throat. Though the teeth should be small enough to not cause choking, it's better to catch the teeth when they're about to fall out than risk choking.
Talk with a dental clinic like Aberdeen Dental Arts to see what approach is best for your baby.Share