Tags Posts tagged with "Mamelons"

Mamelons

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Mamelons on Teeth Wear Down
©Ilya Andriyanov/Shutterstock.com

Last July, I wrote an article describing mamelons, which are the tiny bumps that appear on the edges of newly erupted permanent front teeth.  If you missed that article, you can read it here: Mamelons, the Bumps On Your Child’s Permanent Teeth.

Mamelons Wearing Off On a Young Soccer PlayerAs we get older, our mamelons will naturally wear off if our teeth fit together properly.  If you have an open bite or your front teeth don’t touch each other when you bite down, your mamelons probably won’t wear down and you might consider having a dentist smooth them down if you don’t like the way they look.

This post is simply a series of four photos of permanent teeth in various stages of having their mamelons worn off.  Don’t worry, we’ll take a close-up look at our soccer star pictured above in one of the photos below!

How Mamelons Look As They Get Worn Down

First, let’s take a look at three permanent teeth that are just starting to come in.  You can see how pronounced the serrated ridges (mamelons) on the upper left tooth and the lower middle teeth:

Mamelons on New Permanent Teeth

Mamelons Wearing Down on Teeth

To the right you’ll find a close-up on the teeth of our little soccer champ pictured above.  At his age, you can still see some slight serrations and bumps on his four front teeth.  However, the mamelons are almost worn away.  They are not nearly as pronounced as the mamelons on the picture above of the permanent teeth that are just poking through.

Here’s two pictures of adults that have worn down their mamelons:

Mamelons Worn Down

In the picture above, you can see that her upper front teeth are mostly flat.  Many front teeth still have small curves and grooves to them, but they are for the most part, pretty even.

The picture below is a picture of a young woman who has worn down her mamelons and her front teeth have the normal “flat” appearance on the incisal edge.

Mamelons Worn Off

Conclusion

Hopefully this article helped you understand a little more about the gradual process that mamelons go through as they get worn away.

If you don’t like your mamelons and you’re still pretty young, don’t worry – you’ll probably end up wearing them away soon enough!

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about mamelons? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

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Baby Teeth and Adult Teeth Differences
©Timothy W. Stone/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever noticed that baby teeth look like they’re whiter than adult teeth?  Or maybe you knocked out a baby tooth when you were a child, but when you had a similar accident when you were older, your permanent tooth got chipped rather than getting knocked out.

The two scenarios above can be explained by the differences between adult and permanent teeth.

Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth Comparison

There are many differences between baby teeth and permanent teeth, but before I get into all of the differences, take a look at the photo above of the little girl swimming.

Now, take a closer look at her teeth in the photo below:

Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth Comparison

In the picture to the left, there are six permanent teeth that are visible.  Can you spot them?

They are the two top front teeth, the two bottom front teeth, and the two molars on the bottom in the very back of her mouth.

These permanent teeth stand out in more ways than one.  I’ll cover all these differences between baby teeth and permanent teeth below.

As you read, feel free to refer back to this picture to get a visual representation of some of the more noticeable differences that I talk about below.

The Differences Between Permanent Teeth and Baby Teeth

1 – The enamel and dentin are thinner in baby teeth, and the pulp is bigger relative to the rest of the tooth. This means that if your child gets a cavity, it will travel much faster to the nerve of the tooth. This is one more reason why it’s important to take your child to the dentist before they turn one year old and get routine checkups thereafter.

Not sure what enamel, dentin, and pulp are?  Read my previous article about the anatomy of a tooth.

2 – Permanent teeth are more yellow than baby teeth. Take a quick look at the picture above and you’ll see that the six permanent teeth that are visible  don’t look nearly as white as the other baby teeth.

3 – Baby teeth have shorter roots – because of this they aren’t anchored as well into the bone and may fall out more easily if your child falls on a hard step or hits their mouth on the coffee table.  The shorter roots also give the permanent teeth more room to develop underneath the baby teeth and make it easier to dissolve the roots of the baby teeth when the permanent teeth are ready to come into the mouth.

Find out what to do when a baby tooth gets knocked out.

4 – Baby teeth fall out – If you take good care of your adult teeth you can keep them for your entire life.  Just because baby teeth fall out, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t important.  If you’ve been staying up late at night pondering this question, click the following link to find out why baby teeth are important.

5 – Permanent teeth have mamelons.  Mamelons are the small bumps that give the permanent incisors a serrated look when they first come into the mouth.  If you look closely at the girl in the picture above, you can see the little bumps on the edges of her four permanent front teeth.  Mamelons quickly wear away as long as the teeth fit together properly.

Learn more about what mamelons are and what to do if you still have them as an adult.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are definitely some differences between adult and permanent teeth. These differences can not only affect the appearance of the teeth, but can also affect what happens to a tooth when you suffer an injury to the mouth.

Do you have any questions about baby teeth or permanent teeth? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below! Thanks for reading.

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Ways Your Teeth Get Worn Down
©Steven Frame/Shutterstock.com

When teeth first come into the mouth, they are in pristine condition and come complete with mamelons, remnants of the tooth’s development.  Over time, our teeth get worn down.  Some people wear their teeth down more than others.

There are four main ways that we wear down our teeth: Abrasion, Attrition, Erosion, and Abfraction.  If you’re not sure what those words mean, keep reading and I’ll explain!  The man in the picture below is wearing down his teeth in one of those four ways.

Wearing Away Teeth: Abrasion, Erosion, and Abfraction

Abrasion

Abrasion happens when objects come into contact with our teeth that mechanically wear them away.  A common way people wear away teeth is by using their teeth as tools, like chewing through tags on clothes or using your teeth to open packages.  Some other examples of abrasion are:

  • When you brush your teeth, the grit in the toothpaste can slowly wear away tooth structure.  Under normal circumstances, this won’t wear away enough tooth structure to be noticeable, but some people who brush their teeth a LOT will wear away a noticeable amount of tooth structure.  This is one of the reasons that our teeth get more yellow as we get older, we are slowly wearing away the enamel and seeing the yellow dentin underneath.
  • Chewing on pencils or any other foreign object.
  • Chewing on food.
  • Chewing tobacco.

Attrition

Attrition is defined as wearing away tooth structure from tooth-to-tooth contact.  Some attrition is normal, it’s how mamelons get worn away.  Attrition gets to be a problem if you are routinely clenching and grinding your teeth.  Many people grind their teeth at night, often without being aware.  We make night guards at our dental school which people can wear to prevent them from grinding their teeth at night.  If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about getting a night guard.

In Peter Dawson’s book Functional Occlusion he states, “When wear penetrates enamel into softer dentin, wear increases seven times faster.”  That means that it’s best to get your grinding problem taken care of as soon as possible, because it will only get worse once you grind through the enamel.

Erosion

Erosion occurs when you eat or drink acidic beverages.  The reason we get cavities is because plaque living on our teeth produce acid that over time can dissolve our teeth.

Any time acid comes into contact with our teeth, it can dissolve the crystals that make up our teeth.  Here are some ways that acid comes into contact with our teeth:

  • Eating or drinking acid-containing foods and beverages.  If you’re interested in some related reading, here’s 9 drinks that can dissolve your teeth, and a guide to identifying acids in foods.
  • When we throw up, either from the flu or from an eating disorder such as bulimia, the acidic contents of the stomach wash over our teeth and slowly dissolve them.
  • If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (commonly known as GERD), your mouth will become acidic due to the acids from the stomach making their way back into your mouth.
  • Putting acidic pills or medications in your mouth.  Some people suck on vitamin C tablets.  Others try to put aspirin on a toothache to make it feel better.  Both of these pills are acidic and can cause tooth erosion.

Abfraction

Abfraction is wear at the gumline that has a controversial origin.  Some dental experts say that it comes from stress on the tooth when biting and others say that it comes from abrasion due to the grit found in toothpaste.  In Dawson’s book mentioned above he says, “What we have been calling abfraction lesions are really the result of toothpaste abuse.”

Abfraction lesions are wedge-shaped and usually appear on the cheek/lip side of the teeth.  The book Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology by Neville describes abfraction lesions as “defects that are deep, narrow, and v-shaped…often affect[ing] a single tooth with adjacent unaffected teeth.  In addition, occasional lesions are subgingival, a site typically protected from abrasion and erosion.”

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways that we wear away our teeth.  Many of the causes of excessive wear — consuming acidic foods and drinks, using our teeth inappropriately, and using abrasive toothpastes — are preventable.  Even attrition, which results from grinding your teeth, is easily treated by your dentist.   Hopefully, you can take steps to reduce the wear on your teeth now that you are aware of the causes.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how the man in the photo above is wearing away his teeth… it’s by abrasion!

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Bumps front Teeth Mamelons
©Jaimie Duplass/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever noticed the little bumps on a brand new permanent front tooth in your child’s mouth?

Mamelons on Lower Front Permanent TeethSometimes parents think that their children’s teeth have something wrong with them when they first notice these serrated edges on their kids’ front teeth.

Fortunately, there is nothing abnormal about these bumps and grooves.  They are completely normal — so normal, in fact, that there is a special name to describe these bumps: mamelons.  They appear due to the way that the permanent teeth develop.

The Serrated Bumps on the Permanent Incisors Are Mamelons

All teeth develop from what are called lobes.  Deep down under the gums, the different lobes all grow together, each one forming a different part of the tooth.  On the front teeth, the incisors, there are three lobes that come together to form the front of the tooth.  You can visualize where these lobes joined together by looking at the mamelons.  There was a front lobe on the left, one in the middle, and one on the right.

Here’s a close-up of the above photo displaying the mamelons in greater detail:

Mamelons Large View
The three bumps on the lower middle front teeth are known as mamelons. They appear on all newly erupted permanent incisors.

Why Don’t Adults Have Mamelons On Their Front Teeth?

Usually mamelons are only present for a short time.  Since they are uneven and rather thin, they tend to wear away pretty quickly as the child uses his or her new permanent teeth to chew their food.  Interestingly enough, not long ago, I screened a new patient for treatment at the dental school and noticed that he still had his mamelons present.

Mamelons can still be found on the front teeth of some adults when their teeth don’t come together in the way that they should.  For example, if someone bites together and their front teeth don’t touch, then the mamelons won’t ever contact their opposing teeth.  Because they don’t contact their opposing teeth, they don’t have a chance to get worn down (unless you’re chewing rocks, but then you’d probably have more to worry about than just keeping your mamelons!)

Adults who still have their mamelons and don’t like their appearance can go to any dentist and have them smooth them out for a more aesthetic look.

Conclusion

If your child has bumps on their front teeth, don’t be alarmed!  It’s completely normal to have these bumps on permanent front teeth — it would be abnormal to not have them.

If you have any questions or comments about mamelons – the serrated edges on the front permanent teeth, please leave them in the comments section below.