Tooth mamelons are small bumps on the edge of your front teeth. They usually appear on either two or four of your front teeth, with each tooth having a group of three bumps. They are a normal part of tooth development and are not problematic.

Typically, the wear down over time and do not require treatment. However, they may be cosmetically unappealing since they give your teeth are serrated or scalloped look.

Which teeth have mamelons?

Periodic routine dental exam

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Your permanent maxillary and mandibular incisors are where you will notice mamelons if you have them. They can form on both the central and lateral incisors, which are your four front teeth on either arch. More than 90% of people will see mamelons on their incisors when they erupt. However, they begin to wear down and become less noticeable or even completely disappear within just a few months of tooth eruption.

The mamelons appear on the incisal edge of the crown portion of your teeth. You'll notice a group of three, rounded bumps on the adult teeth that give them a wavy edge.

Baby teeth (also called primary teeth) never have mamelons.

Why do mamelons occur?

Mamelons are the result of healthy teeth formation. Teeth develop during pregnancy and mamelons are the result of the merging of different formation processes. They are actually formed on your permanent (adult) teeth before you're even born and help your teeth break through the gum tissue when it's time to do so.

How to remove mamelons?

If you don't like the way your teeth look due to the mamelons, your dentist can easily remove them by performing tooth recontouring or tooth reshaping. Their removal is a purely cosmetic procedure, although your insurance provider might pay for the treatment.

Your dentist will start by taking X-rays of your teeth to make sure it is acceptable to remove the mamelons. If they are too close to the dentin layer, the nerve, or there is decay, other procedures may be required.

Once your dentist has decided you can proceed, the procedure is quick. No local anesthetic is needed since it is only enamel being removed. Your dentist will use a reshaping bur to contour your teeth based on your gender and the shape of your other teeth. Once the mamelons are gone, they'll smooth and polish the enamel.

Oftentimes, if an adolescent undergoes orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will simply remove the mamelons from incisor teeth when it's time to remove the braces. This is also a common treatment option in pediatric dentistry.

  • Painless procedure, non-invasive, no downtime

  • Smoother teeth are easier to care for

  • Inexpensive

  • For minor changes only

  • Teeth may be sensitive for a short time

  • Too much removal could cause breaking or decay

FAQ

Do mamelons need to be removed?

Mamelons do not typically need to be removed, but in some cases, they can cause alignment issues which could result in orthodontic treatment.

How long should mamelons last?

Mamelons first appear when the permanent incisors erupt, usually between ages six and eight. They can wear down quickly (within months) or take several years to go away.

Do bumpy teeth indicate a more concerning oral health problem?

If the bumps on your permanent teeth are mamelons, there are no serious oral health problems. Mamelons are a natural result of tooth formation. You can remove them with cosmetic contouring.

What is the difference between mamelons and ridges?

Some people use the terms ridges and mamelons simultaneously, but ridges can also refer to a normal, permanent feature of the biting surface of your teeth.

References

  1. Incisor Mamelon Morphology: Diagnostic Indicators of Abnormal Development - ScienceDirect
  2. Forensic evaluation of Mamelons on the incisors - ResearchGate
  3. Anatomy and Development of the Mouth and Teeth - Hopkins Medicine