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Tooth in a newborn
Question :
Ashish Marwah, Poonam Marwah
Department of Pediatrics, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh
Address for Correspondence: Dr. Poonam Marwah, House no. 1457, Sector 9, HUDA, Ambala city – 134003.

A 5 day old male newborn presented to us with complaints of excessive crying and refusal to suck. Oral examination revealed a single crown of tooth in anterior mandibular region {figure 1}. It was whitish opaque in color and mobile. Systemic examination was normal. A pedodontist opinion was taken and X- ray done showed a tooth devoid of root portion with a normally developing tooth germ below it. In view of feeding difficulty and mobility, the tooth was extracted by pedodontist under topical anesthesia.

What is tooth present at birth called_?
Answer :
Teeth present in mouth at birth are defined as natal teeth while those that erupt within 30 days of birth are neonatal teeth. It is a rare entity with a prevalence of about 1 in 2000 to 3500 live births. {1} Among the various types, 85 percent erupt as mandibular incisors, 11 percent as maxillary incisors, 3 percent as mandibular canines and 1 percent as maxillary canines or molars. {2} Etiology may include infection, trauma, malnutrition, hormonal stimulation and maternal exposure to environmental toxins. In view of complications such as feeding problems, irritation and trauma to infants tongue, sublingual ulceration {Riga-Fede disease} and risk of aspiration of mobile ones, {3} natal teeth are of prime importance not only for a dentist but a pediatrician as well. Since, pediatricians are the first to notice these, an early consultation and integrated management with a pediatric dental surgeon may help prevent complications.

1. Massler M, Savara BS. Natal and neonatal teeth` a review of 24 cases reported in the literature. J Pediatr. 1950` 36: 349-359.
2. Alvarez MP, Crespi PV, Shanske AL. Natal molars in Pfeiffer syndrome type 3: a case report. J Clinical Pediatr Dent. 1993` 18: 21-24
3. Rao RS, Mathad SV. Natal teeth` Case report and review of literature. J Maxillofacial Path 2009` 13: 41-46

Last Updated: September 2013 Vol 10 Issue 9 Art # 51

DOI No. : 10.7199/ped.oncall.2013.51