Updated on April 24, 2024
3 min read

What are Mamelons on Teeth?

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Key Takeaways

  • Mamelons are small bumps visible on the edges of the front teeth (incisors), especially permanent front teeth.
  • They may help with tooth eruption, making it easier for incisors to break through the gums.
  • In most cases, mamelons wear down over the first few months to years after new incisors erupt. However, they can persist over a longer period.
  • While mamelons that don’t go away may be a cosmetic concern, they’re harmless. However, the underlying reason for them may be a misalignment of your teeth or jaws.
  • If you’re concerned about mamelons on your front teeth, talk to your dentist.

What are Mamelons on Teeth?

Mamelons are tiny points or bumps on the edges of your front teeth (incisors). They may be the middle bump in a set of three. They’re named for their shape, as “mamelon” is French for “nipple.”

These rounded bumps may occur on all four top incisors and all four bottom incisors. They’re typically present on permanent teeth but may also be visible on baby teeth.

Mamelons form from the enamel fusion of a developing tooth bud.

mamelons on teeth

What is the Function of Mamelons?

Mamelons help incisors break through the gums when they emerge. They don’t do any harm, and they usually aren’t considered clinically significant.

When and Why Do Mamelons Go Away?

Mamelons are most prominent when incisors, especially permanent incisors, first erupt. Over the following months, they typically whittle away as you repeatedly bite and chew food.

For these reasons, mamelons are most prominent in children ages 6 to 8. Children typically have their permanent front teeth come in within this age range.

When kids reach their teens, the mamelons on their front teeth may have worn away entirely.

Can Mamelons Persist?

Because mamelons are exposed to biting and chewing forces, they often disappear relatively early in the lifespan of an incisor tooth.

However, mamelons can persist for years. For example, if you have misaligned teeth or jaws, the cutting surfaces of your incisors may not be as active in biting or chewing.

This could allow mamelons to last longer than usual, especially if you have an open bite where the incisors can’t make contact. If you have persistent mamelons resulting from malocclusion, you’ll need orthodontic treatment to resolve the underlying issue.

Unusual chewing habits, such as not using the front teeth, could also cause mamelons to persist.

How to Remove Mamelons

Mamelons can easily be removed if they pose a cosmetic concern. This is done through tooth contouring or reshaping. Your dentist can shave down the mamelons to level your incisors’ edges.

Pros and Cons of Reshaping Teeth

Reshaping your incisor teeth to remove mamelons may be beneficial if you see them as a cosmetic flaw. It’s a simple cosmetic dentistry procedure that can be performed in a few minutes. It does not require anesthesia or recovery time.

However, there are some potential drawbacks:

  • Cosmetic tooth recontouring isn’t covered by dental insurance. Tooth reshaping to remove mamelons is a cosmetic procedure rather than a medically necessary one. This means insurance isn’t likely to cover it.
  • Mamelons are generally harmless. They don’t pose any threat to oral health, and they tend to gradually wear away over months to years. You’re unlikely to require tooth shaving to remove them.
  • There’s a risk of removing too much enamel. Removing tooth enamel for cosmetic reasons may make your teeth more vulnerable to decay and sensitivity.
  • You may require orthodontic treatment. If your tooth mamelons remain years after your adult teeth came in, the underlying issue may be a tooth or jaw misalignment. Cosmetic contouring won’t address this.

Last updated on April 24, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 24, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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  2. Zajac, Jocelyn C., et al. “Dental Topics for Plastic Surgeons, Part One: Normal Anatomy, Growth and Development.” Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, 2020.
  3. Wu, Yun-Qi, et al. “Attrition-corrosion of human dental enamel: A review.” Biosurface and Biotribology, 2017.
  4. Shenoy, Arvind and Nina. “Dental ceramics: An update.” Journal of Conservative Dentistry, 2010.
  5. Griffiths, Sarah E., and P. Jonathan Sandler. “Tooth reshaping as an integral part of orthodontic treatment.” Orthodontic Update, 2017.
  6. Prasad, Vaishali Nandini, et al. “Winged Maxillary Central Incisors with Unusual Morphology: A Unique Presentation and Early Treatment.” The Angle Orthodontist, 2005.
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