What Causes Jagged Teeth in Kids and Adults?

 Give a dentist two teeth of the same type and size, and there may be a way that the dentist can tell you if they’re a 12-year old’s or an adult’s. What gives it away? The presence of mamelons, which are rounded bumps on the edges of newly erupted teeth.

Not all irregular edges are due to mamelons, a natural appearance to a child’s teeth. Sometimes, jagged teeth are related to chipping. Keep reading to find out how dentists can address jagged teeth in all ages. 

Will they go away in kids?

You’ll usually start to see your child’s first permanent teeth come in at around 7 years old with most teeth — other than wisdom teeth — coming in before 12 years old.

However, you’ll likely notice these teeth will look quite different from your front teeth. Specifically, they often appear disproportionately larger and also have bumpy-like projections on the top.

Mamelons usually occur in permanent or adult teeth. They are most noticeable up until you’re 10 years old, according to a 2020 study. The study also reported that mamelons typically go away when you’re about 25 years old.

So, what happens to mamelons? Dentists believe these jagged areas simply wear down with time. Your efforts when eating and just all-around using your teeth makes mamelons less noticeable as you age.

It’s true that some people do retain mamelons for a longer time period. This tends to be true for people who don’t have a normal bite occlusion, but have more of an open bite occlusion.

People who retain mamelons for a longer time tend to have a bite where their upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This makes it harder for teeth to rub against each other or bite food effectively, so the mamelons don’t wear down as they usually would.

How to fix

In children

Because mamelons will likely become less noticeable as your child gets older, you may wish to hold off on any intervention.

You can consult your child’s dentist to ask about the likelihood that mamelons will lessen with time — especially if your child is under 20 years old.

However, cosmetic dentists can usually adjust the mamelons with one of several cosmetic approaches. These include:

  • Bonding. This process involves applying a special resin to the child’s teeth, which helps to shape the teeth. Dentists use bonding to correct irregularly shaped teeth and short teeth.
  • Contouring. This process involves removing a portion of the dental enamel to shape and smooth the teeth’s appearance. Dentists also call this procedure enameloplasty.

If your child has an open bite occlusion, there are treatments available, according to a study from 2016Trusted Source.

Treatments for open bite occlusions depend upon the underlying cause of an open bite. For example, some people have very short front teeth that don’t touch while others have alterations in their back teeth that keep them from touching.

A dentist should carefully evaluate the potential underlying causes before recommending treatments. Some treatments may include:

  • reshaping the teeth so they meet
  • teeth bonding to promote tooth contact
  • orthodontic treatments, such as braces, to correct a person’s bite
  • extracting teeth, sometimes replacing these with dental implants

In rare cases, a doctor may recommend surgery called orthognathic (jaw) surgery to correct bite abnormalities. This would usually only occur if a person’s jaw position was causing:

  • pain
  • problems eating
  • severe cosmetic concerns

In adults

Jagged teeth in adults are usually the result of chipping related to:

  • trauma
  • wear and tear
  • improper dental health

It’s important not to ignore a cracked or chipped tooth because if left untreated, the cracked tooth can further weaken and expose the inner, soft layers of the tooth. This can result in:

  • pain
  • irritation
  • potentially infection

Treatments for chipped or jagged-appearing teeth in adults are a bit different compared to treatments for young people.

  • bonding
  • dental crown
  • veneers

Each of these interventions can improve the cosmetic appearance of the teeth. Your dentist can evaluate your teeth and make recommendations as to what interventions can help improve and strengthen your teeth’s appearance. 


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