When your child's permanent teeth erupt, you might notice some bumpy ridges on their incisors. These ridges are called mamelons and they're nothing to fret about. Find out more about mamelons and what to expect.
What Are Mamelons Teeth?
Mamelons teeth appear on the lower and upper incisors as small protuberances along the edge. Incisors are the thin, straight teeth toward the front of the mouth used for biting and tearing off small pieces of food. These mamelons resemble the serrations on a steak knife.
Mamelons form when the enamel fuses while the tooth is still developing under the gums. Each of the eight front teeth develops from several lobes that fuse before the tooth pokes through the gum tissue along the pink bony gingival ridge. These little serrations of enamel help the tooth poke through the gums so the entire tooth can erupt.
Mamelons usually don't last for very long. Parents often notice mamelons when the permanent top and bottom front teeth first begin to peek through the gum tissue. These tiny little bumps generally wear down over time as the child begins using their teeth to chew. If tooth eruption is delayed or the child has an occlusion discrepancy where their bite does not naturally grind, mamelons may not wear away by adulthood. A malocclusion will require orthodontic treatment.
Mamelons do not cause any harm or interfere with your oral health. However, you might wish to remove your mamelons for cosmetic reasons. Removal requires a simple cosmetic dentistry procedure called tooth shaving or recontouring.
Your dentist will use a file, disc, or drill to shave the enamel and smooth the edges of your teeth. This treatment will not require any local anesthetic since the mamelon does not contain any nerves. Plus, it's quick and does not require any recovery time. Tooth shaving is usually inexpensive, but your insurance provider might not cover the cost of a cosmetic procedure, so check to see if you will need to pay out of pocket.
For young children, mamelons are completely normal and generally wear down with time. Dentists might not intervene or take a wait-and-see approach, but work with your dental professional to evaluate individual cases. If you are concerned about the appearance of bumpy mamelons on teeth, talk to your dental professional about smoothing the ridges on your teeth at your next appointment.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.