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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 help incisors break through the gums when they emerge. They don’t do any harm, and they usually aren’t considered clinically significant.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Yes, mamelons are normal. They commonly appear on perfectly healthy teeth when they first erupt through the gums. They’re harmless and tend to wear down over months or years of normal chewing.
Mamelons occur on incisors. These are your eight front teeth (four on top and four on the bottom). Mamelons appear on the cutting edge of these teeth (typically permanent teeth).
Mamelons may help the process of tooth eruption. Because incisors are thinner than other teeth, mamelons may make it easier for them to break through gum tissue.
You’re most likely to notice mamelons when your (or your child’s) permanent incisors have newly erupted.
Mamelon removal isn’t painful. It’s a type of tooth contouring, a common cosmetic treatment. A dentist can typically perform this procedure in a few minutes, and it’s generally pain-free.
However, if excessive enamel is shaved away from your teeth, they may become more sensitive. They may also be more susceptible to decay.
Persistent mamelons may be the result of tooth or jaw misalignment.
When your front teeth are properly aligned, they only vertically overlap slightly. This allows them to bite into food and make contact when your mouth is closed. This type of pressure will naturally grind mamelons down over time.
However, if you have misaligned teeth, your incisors may not experience the normal pressure of biting and chewing. This is especially likely if you have an open bite, which prevents your front teeth from making contact.
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of New Mouth’s in-house dentists, “Mamelons typically wear down on their own. However, they can remain if you have other issues going on, such as crowded teeth, open bites, underbites, overjets, or deleterious oral habits including thumb sucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing.”
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