A paediatric dentist, Dr Osarugue Ota, says babies born with teeth or who grow teeth within 30 days of birth are normal and not related to witchcraft.
Ota, who works at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, told journalists during an online training session on Tuesday that there was nothing wrong with such babies.
According to her, natal teeth are teeth present when a baby is born while neonatal teeth come out within the first 30 days of birth.
Ota said that such teeth ought to come out at about six months after birth but came out earlier for whatever reasons.
“This situation is not common; that is why it could be scary for most parents.
“The society also frowns at it, and some say the parents brought the child from the witchcraft kingdom.
“Our role as paediatric dentists will be to counsel the mother and even the entire family of such a baby about these kinds of teeth and the treatment options, and to tell them that the situations have nothing to do with witchcraft.
“We would check if the teeth are shaky; this means they are not well-formed and could actually be a risk to the child as they could cause injury to the infant’s tongue when nursing,’’ she said.
The dentist also said that the baby would also risk inhaling the teeth which could be stuck in his airway, causing problems.
“To avoid such, we do a proper assessment and inform the parents that we will take out these teeth,” she said.
Ota said that if the natal teeth were firm and well-formed, the parents of the child would be told that such a child was normal.
“However, if the parents insist that the teeth should be taken off due to socio-cultural perceptions, then they have to sign a consent form for an expert to go ahead and remove the teeth,” she said.