Eruption of the first deciduous tooth in preterm infants: a 12-month follow-up

Abstract Objective To analyze the eruption age of the first deciduous tooth of preterm infants from the neonatal intensive care unit and to relate with natal and postnatal factors. Material and method This prospective longitudinal study was conducted with infants from neonatal intensive care units (n=215). The inclusion criterion was prematurity and exclusion was the unavailability for follow-up and newborns with congenital syndromes/malformations, with 62 participants remaining. The exam was performed by a single operator. Data were processed by SPSS and by descriptive and comparative statistics. Result When considering the chronological age, only one infant presented erupted lower incisors at 6 months. Eruption delay (60%) can be verified when compared to the standard reported in the literature. However, when analyzed by adjusted age for prematurity, this delay was less frequent (32%). Among the natal and postnatal factors, the eruption delay was not related to birth weight, gestational age, sex, breastfeeding, finger/pacifier sucking, maternal schooling and family income. The greatest frequency of eruption delay by adjusted age occurred in cases in which the infant was considered small for the gestational age (p=0.006). Conclusion The eruption of the first deciduous tooth in preterm infants presented with delay, when assessed by chronological age. However, there was no delay when the corrected age for prematurity was used. Among the natal and postnatal factors, only the weight/gestational age relationship influenced the age of eruption.