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Removing "Milk Teeth": How Your Dentist Determines If These Unusual Teeth Should Be Removed

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A children's dental care specialist sees some strange cases. Your regular dentist is likely to make the referral for you to the specialist when your child is one of the unusual cases. The most unusual cases involve infants who are born with teeth! This can make it really difficult for nursing mothers to feed their newborns because the newborn will bite while trying to nurse. According to specialists, about one in every two to three thousand births results in milk teeth, also referred to as fetal or natal teeth. The pediatric dental clinic you visit uses the following criteria to decide if these weird teeth should be removed.

Are These Teeth Wobbly or About to Fall Out?

If your OB/GYN sees these teeth after your baby is born, and they are very wobbly or about to fall out, he or she may just remove them from your baby's mouth right way. There is a possibility that your baby could swallow the teeth and choke on them or get them stuck in the lungs. If the teeth are a little more firmly planted, your OB/GYN will probably call a pediatric dental specialist in for a consultation before removing the teeth.

Will the Baby's Normal Set of Teeth Be Blocked or Not Come in at All?

Most of the time, these milk/natal teeth fall out on their own and the baby's regular set of teeth come in when they are ready. However, in very rare instances, the infant teeth have actually erupted early, and only the adult tooth buds are underneath the teeth you see. If the teeth your baby was born with remain longer than expected, your family dentist will need to take an x-ray to see if your child is one of the rare cases. If the dentist verifies that there are other sets of teeth below the gums, the milk/natal teeth can be pulled. Otherwise, they stay put until the next set of teeth erupt.

Do the Milk/Natal Teeth Inhibit Baby's Feeding, Development and Growth?

If your newborn is reluctant to feed because his or her unusual set of teeth feel strange or cause difficulties with sucking and swallowing, then these teeth might have to go. If your nipples are being chomped and you are in pain, you are not going to want to nurse your baby either. Both situations impede your baby's ability to get enough nutrition to grow and develop properly. In this case, your newborn's teeth would be removed.

Pulling the Teeth

Almost always, these strange teeth do not have much of a root system. They are not firmly planted in your baby's jaw and can pop out easily. Any x-rays your dentist takes of your baby's jaw will show how deep these teeth go, and how easy it will be to remove them. There may be a little blood, but your baby will not feel a lot of pain despite his or her cries to the contrary. 

If you're interested in learning more about children's dentistry and the unusual cases that occur from time to time, visit a website like