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