By the age of about eight, most children have a full set of permanent incisors. These secondary teeth are among the first to erupt, along with first molars. Naturally, this means they receive a lot of attention, especially since they are also located in the smile zone. As a result, it doesn't take very long for children and their parents to notice the feature that is unique to incisors.

Newly erupted permanent lateral and central incisors often have what looks like a serrated edge along the biting surface. Concerned parents may then mistakenly believe that this is a sign that their child's teeth are malformed. However, though they may not seem like it, those serrated protrusions are perfectly normal.

Immature Incisors Have a Jagged Edge

The ridges that are present on the biting surfaces of newly erupted incisors are called mamelons. If you look closely, you can see that each incisor has three mamelons. There are three ridges because during the formation of incisors, three groups of cells come together to form a single tooth. This results in a jagged appearance.

Mamelons do not pose any risks to your child's oral health. However, if the mamelons on your child's incisors are especially prominent, they may be clearly visible whenever your child smiles. Although mamelons do eventually wear away due to chewing forces, some patients prefer to remove them early.

A Dentist Can Remove Mamelons

Sometimes, mamelons can negatively impact a smile. For example, prominent mamelons can cause teeth to appear damaged and in need of dental work. In some cases, incisors may look as if they are comprised of two teeth fused together due to the presence of large gaps between each mamelon.

Fortunately, a dentist can easily remove mamelons in a matter of minutes. Not only is the process fast and painless, but there should be no damage to teeth during the removal procedure. A simple dental file should be sufficient to remove the ridges.

Some Adults Have Mamelons

In general, mamelons wear away before adulthood as a result of the upper and lower incisors coming into contact during chewing. However, some adults retain their mamelons for much longer than is normal. Unlike the rest of an incisor, which contains dentin as well as enamel, mamelons are composed solely of enamel.

This means they wear away much faster than the rest of the tooth. When the mamelons  are still intact in adulthood, it is usually a sign that the biting surfaces of the upper and lower incisors don not meet during mastication. It is also possible that a person simply doesn't use their incisors as much as their other teeth when chewing.

Mamelons may look threatening, but they are a completely normal feature of a young incisor's anatomy. However, if their appearance bothers you, your children's dentist can remove them for you with little fuss.