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What Causes Jagged Teeth in Kids and Adults?

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 belong to a 12-year old or an adult.  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.

Will they go away in children?

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 but 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.  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. 

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 adults include bonding, dental crown or 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. 

Preventing chipped teeth in adults 

Avoiding some habits known to contribute to chipped teeth can help prevent pain and dentist’s bills. This includes:

  • refraining from chewing on hard objects, such as ice or pens 
  • refraining from using your teeth as “openers” or “tools” for boxes, packages, clips, or other items
  • wearing a protective mouthguard or nightguard if you grind your teeth
  • wearing a mouthguard if you engage in any contact sports, such as football or basketball

Some important dental health practices that can help avoid complications include taking care of your teeth through:

  • regular brushing
  • twice-yearly dental visits
  • eating a balanced diet high in vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D

When to call a dentist

Jagged teeth due to mamelons are not necessarily a dental concern but they may be a cosmetic concern. 

If the presence of mamelons increases feelings of self-consciousness for you or your child, you can talk with a dentist about a cosmetic intervention. 

If you have a chipped tooth, you should call your dentist if you notice the following symptoms:

  • increased sensitivity to cold or heat 
  • pain 
  • swelling around the gum 
  • tooth discolouration 

These symptoms may indicate the tooth chip has exposed the area near the dental pulp and requires treatment. 

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