My Wweblog:

Tags Posts tagged with "Permanent Teeth"

Permanent Teeth

Mamelons on Teeth Wear Down
©Ilya Andriyanov/

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


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!

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

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.


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.

Functions of Different Teeth In Mouth

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that all of our teeth are unique in their size and shape?

There’s a reason that all of our teeth have a unique shape and size.  It is because all of our teeth have a unique function in our mouth.

Big Smile Showing TeethA lot of times we eat in “auto pilot” mode.  We don’t really have to think about what our teeth are doing since we’ve been chewing for so long.

Have you ever paid attention to what your teeth do when you take a bite out of an apple, or crush a tortilla chip into small pieces that are easy to swallow?

Each tooth plays a valuable role in your mouth.  This is one of the reasons that dentists try so hard to save your natural teeth rather than pull them when you get tooth decay.

The Functions of Incisors

The incisors are the eight front teeth (four on top and four on the bottom) in your mouth.  They have many functions, such as:

1 – Incisors cut and slice through food when you take a bite. The incisors are the main teeth that you use to cut pieces of food, for example when you are eating a whole apple, your incisors are the teeth that slice through the apple and help you get the piece of apple into your mouth to be fully chewed by your other teeth.

2 – Incisors support the lips and face. Right now as you read this, the side of your lips that face your teeth are probably resting right up against your front teeth.  Because of this, your teeth help form the overall appearance of your face.  A reader, Eric, recently left a comment describing how after losing some of his front teeth, his nose and upper lip have started to sag.

3 – Help you speak. If you try to say the word tooth, you’ll notice that your tongue touches your upper incisors twice.  It touches near the top of the incisors for the “t” sound and near the bottom for the “th” sound.  This is just one example of the many sounds that your teeth help you make; it’s also why denture wearers have to re-learn how to speak clearly when they get their dentures.

4 – They can make your smile beautiful. When you smile, the first thing that most people notice will be your teeth.  Since your incisors are your eight front teeth, they have a tremendous effect on how your smile looks.  This leads many people to whiten their teeth, get braces, fix chips, and get dental work done.

5 – Incisors help guide your jaw when you close your mouth.

The Functions of Canines

Smile Showing Incisors, Canine, and PremolarsThere are four canines present in a full set of teeth.  They are the teeth right next to the four front incisors.  These are the sharp, pointy teeth that are sometimes called fang teeth. Canines are also known as the cornerstone of the dental arch as they are a big part of forming the curve that leads to the back teeth.  Canines are also the longest teeth in the mouth.  Because of their length, they are commonly used to anchor prosthetic teeth, such as removable partial dentures.  They are also some of the last teeth lost in the mouth due to periodontal disease.

Canines also have a variety of functions:

1 – Their sharp point allows them to pierce through and tear food. Some animals that hunt for food have very sharp canines.  This helps them to catch their prey.  Most humans don’t run around hunting with their teeth, so we simply use our canines to pierce through food and tear it as we take bites.

2 – The canines support the lips and face. See #2 in the incisors section.

3 – The canines help you talk. See #3 in the incisors section.

4 – They help guide your teeth when you chew. Canines act as the guideposts when you move your jaw to the left or the right.  If you slide your jaw to the left right now, you’ll notice that both the upper left and lower left canine teeth are sliding against each other.

The Functions of Premolars

There are a total of eight premolars in the mouth — two behind each canine tooth.  Premolars are kind of a mix between canines and molars.  They are also the tooth most often extracted when someone with severe crowding gets braces and there’s just not enough room in the mouth for all of the teeth.  They also have varying functions:

1 – They help the canines to pierce and tear food. The premolars have a couple of sharp points on them.  They aren’t as sharp as the canines, but they can still help pierce and tear food.

2 – They help the molars to crush and grind food during chewing. The premolars also have a broad biting surface, but not as broad as the molars.  This helps them to crush and grind food.

3 – They help with aesthetics and speech, but not as much as the canines and incisors. If you take a look at the girl pictured above, you can see both of her upper premolars.  The premolars can show more in some people than others.  For example, when I smile my premolars don’t show very much.  In people with wider smiles, their premolars show.

4 – Support the facial muscles at the corners of the mouth. The premolars keep the corners of your mouth from sagging inward.

The Functions of Molars

There are a total of 12 molars in the mouth, 3 behind each set of premolars.  The last molar in the very back of the mouth is commonly referred to as the wisdom tooth.  These teeth are usually extracted — to find out why, read the article Why Dentists Extract Wisdom Teeth.

Molars are the biggest and strongest teeth in the mouth.

1 – Molars Crush and grind food. Like I mentioned above, when we take a bit out of an apple, we get it into our mouths using our incisors.  When it gets in our mouth, our tongue pushes it toward the premolars and molars so that they can crush it and grind it down into tiny apple bits.

2 – They support your cheeks. Without your molars, your cheeks would appear to be sunk into your face.  Your molars play a vital role in making your cheeks appear full and vibrant.

3 –  The molars play a small role in speech. Molars do help you talk, but it is a more subtle role than the other teeth in your mouth.


I hope that helped you learn about the differences between each tooth.

Note that there are some functions that all of the teeth participate in, such as making your face look as tall as it is.  I’ll cover the many functions of teeth together as a group in a future post.

Do you have any questions about what your teeth do all day?  If so, leave them in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Bumps front Teeth Mamelons
©Jaimie Duplass/

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.


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.