Congenital Dental Defects

Congenital defects are disorders that occur while a baby is developing in the mother’s body, often during the first three months of pregnancy. Often called birth defects, most congenital defects are due to inherited or spontaneous genetic mutations. However, some congenital defects are caused by environmental factors such as drug or alcohol use, infections, nutritional deficiencies, or medical conditions.

Congenital defects can involve any part of the body, and can be mild or serious, leading to death. One in every 33 babies is born with a defect and congenital defects may cause 1 in 5 infant deaths. Some congenital defects can be detected before the baby is born and treated. Other conditions can be treated with surgery or medication after birth.

There are many parts of the body at risk of developmental defects and the teeth are no exception. Sometimes this is an absence of teeth, poorly developed tooth structures, or clefts.


When there are congenital problems with teeth, a consultation with a prosthodontist can help guide you to the options that are right for you.