The neonatal line
is a particular band of incremental growth lines seen in histologic
sections of a tooth
. It belongs to a series of a growth lines in tooth enamel
known as the Striae of Retzius
. The neonatal line is darker and larger than the rest of the striae of Retzius. It is caused by the different physiologic changes birth and is used to identify enamel formation before and after birth.
In forensic dentistry, the neonatal line can be used to distinguish matters such as if a child died before or after birth and approximately how long a child lived after birth.