Hemelt: First bite – LaPlace newborn’s teeth run in family

Published 12:03 am Saturday, September 12, 2015

LaPlace couple Kory and Joshua Fields are not unlike other young parents, checking each day to see if their daughter’s second tooth has made its way through her gums and into little Chloe’s mouth.

Well, there is one difference.

Chloe turned a whopping 23-days-old today and is already working on a set of bottom teeth.

Born Aug. 20 at East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, Chloe weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and came equipped with something that caught the attention of proud papa Joshua Fields.

Joshua noticed what appeared to be teeth coming through his young daughter’s gums, mentioning it to wife Kory, who surprised, had heard a similar story.

“When he said that, I said ‘I wonder if that is what it really is, because my dad made the front page of the paper when he was born because he was born with two teeth,” Kory said.

The doctors at East Jefferson weren’t quite as convinced.

“The doctor at the hospital that saw her first said ‘I don’t think that is anything to worry about, but I don’t think that is teeth,” Kory said. “She just kind of brushed it off.”

After a few days, it was obvious little Chloe had one tooth showing and another on the way.

“She’s got just the one as of now,” Kory said Wednesday. “The other one is going to pop out at any moment. We keep looking at it to check every day, and it still hasn’t come out. It’s on the verge.

“When we took (Chloe) to see her pediatrician after we left the hospital, she said sure enough that it was teeth. That was about a week after we got home. (The pediatrician) said, ‘I have never seen that in my life. I’ve heard about it a few times. It’s very unique and very rare.’”

It is unique, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, occurring in 1 out of every 2,500 births. However, the phenomenon is not that unheard of to Kory.

Her father, Sidney Kilburn III, was born May 17, 1951, with two fully formed front teeth.

Sidney’s birth was so unique, it made the announcements in a Baton Rouge newspaper — Sidney was born at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. In fact, Sidney’s mother, Hilda Kilburn, didn’t know about the teeth until the day after her son was born.

Hilda, who today lives in Garyville, said in those days the doctor gave you something that really knocked you out.

“So when he came into my room the next morning to see me, he said, ‘what are you going to feed him, hamburgers?’” Hilda said. “I looked at him like he was crazy. I didn’t know what he was talking about.

“(The doctor) told the nurse, ‘did this woman see her baby?’ The nurse said no, so he said go get him and let her see her baby with two teeth. It was really amazing. Those were really his baby teeth, because they lasted until he was around 6 years old, just like normal baby teeth.”

Much like Chloe’s pediatrician 64 years later, Hilda’s doctor was surprised to see the teeth showing in a newborn.

He said it was the first time he had come across a newborn with teeth.

“I’m sure there must be more knowledge of it now, but at the time Sidney was born, they didn’t really know too much about it,” Hilda said. “They were just as surprised as I was. The pediatrician said, ‘we’re going to leave them and see what happens. If they don’t bother him, we’re not pulling them.”

Hilda said the teeth never bothered Sidney.

Dubbed “natal teeth,” medical officials say the newborn teeth may cause irritation and injury to the infant’s tongue when nursing.

It’s something mother Kory is already aware of.

“(Chloe) does bite her fingers, and there have been a couple of days she has been fussy that have made us wonder, because we found no way to console her and are not sure why she is fussy. Is it that other tooth coming in that is making her fussy? We don’t know. It’s too hard to tell.”

Stephen Hemelt is publisher and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or stephen.hemelt@lobservateur.com.