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Laura Dorr is the executive editor of DPR's Modern Dental Network.
A newborn baby shocked her parents and doctors alike last month when she was born with two front teeth.
Alyssa Bella Bailey, born on December 28 in Branson, Missouri, surprised everyone with her two unexpected dentition. Her smile is decidedly unique: Teeth like hers, known as natal teeth, are rare, occurring once in every 2,000-3,000 births, according to MedLinePlus, a service of the National Institute of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine.
As in Alyssa’s case, the teeth most often develop in the lower jaw, and have little root structure; they are attached to the end of the gum by soft tissue, oftentimes making them wobbly.
Due to their weak attachment to the gum, natal teeth do present some risk of the infant swallowing or aspirating any teeth that come loose. Other risks include potential damage to the child’s tongue due to irritation from the teeth. Natal teeth can also be associated with several medical conditions, such as Pierre Robin and Sotos syndromes, that can cause jaw deformities and cleft palates.
Luckily, baby Alyssa is perfectly healthy, and the teeth will remain until they fall out on their own when her normal baby teeth grow in. Needless to say, mom Jaklina Bailey has decided to forgo breastfeeding.