"Everyone was shocked" when Alyssa Bella Bailey was born on Dec. 28 at Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo., says mom Jaklina Bailey. That's because when she opened her mouth, newborn Alyssa showed off her two front teeth—the bottom ones. The doctor "said in her 25-year career this is the second time she's ever seen it," Bailey tells OzarksFirst.com. The rare condition is known as natal teeth, which, according to NIH's National Library of Medicine, occur in just one in every 2,000 to 3,000 births. They are always present at birth, as opposed to neonatal teeth, which can develop within 30 days of birth. They can be related to medical conditions such as growth hormone deficiencies or cleft palates, but typically—and in Alyssa's case—they are not.
According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, both natal teeth and neonatal teeth have "for centuries ... been associated with diverse superstitions among many different ethnic groups"; another study notes that in Malaysia, for example, they're seen as a good omen, while in China, they're considered a bad omen. The teeth are often removed shortly after birth, as they're usually quite loose, with little root structure, and can fall out and choke the baby. Alyssa's parents instead plan to keep a close eye on hers until they eventually fall out, they say, adding that doctors "said [they're] just going to grow with the rest of her teeth." Natal teeth can also cause sores on the infant's tongue—and can, not surprisingly, be uncomfortable for the mom while breastfeeding. "A whole lot of people have asked me, 'Does it hurt?'" says Bailey. "Well, I'm breastfeeding with a bottle." (Click for a much less pleasant tooth story.)