Prematurity and Dental Outcomes: A Short Communication Study

Document Type : Short Communication


Maternal, Fetal, and Neonatal Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Department of Neonatology, Yas Women Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran


Background: The development of the teeth is affected by gestational age, and premature neonates are at greater risk for developing dental problems. In the present study, the deleterious effects of preterm birth on orodental tissues and structures were reviewed.
Methods: A detailed research was carried out on MEDLINE, PubMed, and Google Scholar databases. English articles up to June 2019 were included and the search process was performed using the following keywords: “Dental outcomes”, “Tooth”, “Preterm”, “Prematurity”, and “Neonate”.
Results: Literature review has revealed that alteration of tooth crown sizes, quantitative loss of enamel (i.e., enamel hypoplasia), and qualitative change in the enamel opacity (i.e., translucence appearance), or a combination of all are common in premature newborns. Delayed eruption of the first deciduous tooth is frequent among preterm neonates. Prematurity may also influence dental occlusion development, asymmetry in the jaws, and lateralization. Neonates with immature organs and enzymes are at greater risk for some complications, such as hemolytic jaundice and cholestasis. These complications, in addition to hyperbilirubinemia, may result in yellow, brown, or dark green discoloration in the primary teeth.
Conclusion: Some measures can be adopted to improve dental outcomes in premature neonates, including prevention of preterm birth, avoiding problems associated with oral intubation, gentle passing and moistening oral tube feeding, and oral care with colostrum and soft swabs.


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