Most people only get two sets of teeth in their lifetimes. A very rare phenomenon causes infants to be born with teeth present already in their mouths. This occurs in one of every 2,500 births. New mothers are surprised by it when they first put their babies to the breast right after birth and get bitten in the process. If your child was born with one, two, or even twelve teeth (an exceedingly rare occurrence), here is how your pediatric dentist will address this phenomenon.
Check for Wiggles and Pull
These bizarre natal teeth, as they are called, rarely have any roots. They erupted prior to birth in response to a few cell mutations. Almost all babies born with natal teeth have a genetic parent or close extended family member who was also born with natal teeth. The pediatric dentist will examine these natal teeth to see if any of them are loose or wiggly. If they are really wiggly, as most of these natal teeth tend to be, the dentist will just quickly pluck them out, or you can wait for the teeth to fall out on their own. It may take up to two weeks for natal teeth to just fall out if you choose not to have them pulled.
More Firmly Attached Natal Teeth
Natal teeth that do not wiggle may either be stuck in swollen gum tissue in your baby's mouth, or the teeth have some sort of root system after all. The former is more likely, in which case you just have to wait for the swelling to decrease and for the teeth to wiggle out on their own. You can also have the dentist pull them when they become loose.
The case of the latter is much more uncommon. Without an X-ray (because X-rays are not conducted on newborns), the dentist cannot tell you much about these teeth. However, in similar cases, these teeth do fall out on their own, typically before the neonatal, or "baby" teeth, erupt between six and 12 months.
Natal Teeth and Nursing
If you choose not to pull the natal teeth, nursing will be uncomfortable. Ask the Leche League at your hospital for nipple shields to protect your nipples from the natal teeth. There may be a way to toughen nipples, too, so that biting does not hurt as much. Otherwise, you can also pump the breast milk and bottle feed until the natal teeth fall out.