What Are Those Bumps On Teeth That Have Just Come In?
Did you ever notice that when front teeth first come in, they have these nice ridged areas on the very top surface? Some parents see teeth come in like this and automatically assume that something went wrong during tooth development. Good news! Nothing went wrong. These areas are called mamelons. The front side of front teeth form from three separate lobes. During development the three lobes merge together but maintain a small amount of that shape when they’re complete. These mamelons wear away very quickly once the teeth have come into the mouth and start to get some work. It isn’t uncommon that they’re gone within several months. This is why you rarely seem them on adult teeth.
My Teeth Have Little Cracks All Over Them. Is There Something Wrong?
If you look closely at your teeth, especially the front ones, you’ll see what looks like hairline cracks running all through the teeth. Some people see these and get really worried that their tooth is cracking apart! Then they come to see me for a check-up and reassurance that everything is OK. Good news here too. These areas are called craze lines. They are tiny cracks in the enamel of your teeth but are usually very superficial. They form over time in most teeth, especially those that are subjected to more force from grinding, bad habits, etc. Occasionally craze lines will stain and become a cosmetic issue. No treatment is necessary for craze lines and they don’t mean your tooth is cracking in half or anything of the sort. Whitening your teeth can help reduce some of the cosmetic issues associated with craze lines.
How Hard Are Teeth?
Tooth enamel is the single hardest structure in your entire body. Your bones come in second but it isn’t really close. Enamel (the outer layer of your teeth) is nearly 96% mineral with only 4% consisting of water and proteins. Enamel is made up of a mineral known as hydroxyapatite. It is super hard but is also very brittle. Bone on the other hand is composed of only about 70% mineral content with about 30% being proteins and water.
What this means is that it is really difficult to scratch your enamel but it is easy to crack it with the right type of force such as getting hit in the mouth, grinding your teeth, or using your teeth to open a bottle or something similarly stupid. Teeth also have very little ability to heal themselves. Bones on the other hand can usually repair themselves if broken.
Why Are Baby Teeth Whiter Than Permanent Teeth?
Did you ever notice that when kids get their permanent teeth in that they look super yellow! I get this comment from parents all the time. They wonder if something is wrong with the permanent teeth. This is another one of those things where there may appear at first to be something wrong but in fact everything is totally normal. Baby teeth are naturally extremely white. They are whiter than most people’s teeth even if they have been whitening again and again. When your permanent teeth come in they are always darker than the baby teeth. This stands out more when they are sitting right next to those pearly white baby teeth. Once all the baby teeth have come out and the permanent ones have come in you don’t notice this big contrast and they don’t appear nearly as dark or yellow.
Why Do People Have Wisdom Teeth?
Great question. Wisdom teeth in most people aren’t very functional and a lot of people end up having them removed at some point in their life. It is thought that wisdom teeth used to be more functional. When people were hunter gatherers and ate a lot of leaves, bark, etc having another set of molars was a big advantage as this type of diet quickly wears down teeth. Skeletons from our early ancestors show that the jawbones were much larger and able to accommodate all 32 teeth. As the size of the brain increased, the size of the jaw actually decreased to make room for it. Unfortunately the wisdom teeth were still there and didn’t quite enough room.
Do Some People Have Extra Teeth?
Yes, it is pretty rare but some people develop additional teeth known as supernumerary teeth. These can develop in just about any location and usually aren’t functional. I’ve seen people with extra teeth between their front teeth, extra impacted teeth, and extra sets of wisdom teeth. There are also some genetic diseases that as a side effect have many many extra teeth that develop.
Why Does My Kid Have Shark Teeth?
When kids first start losing teeth they have a tendency to develop a double row of tooth on the bottom. This is perfectly normal! The permanent teeth almost start coming through on the tongue side of the gums behind the front teeth. For a short period of time, it will look like a double row of teeth. Once the permanent teeth have come through enough, they’ll make the baby tooth loose enough to come out. As soon as the baby teeth come out the tongue starts to put pressure on the adult teeth and this pressure pushes them forward into the correct location.
What Is That Protrusion On The Back Of My Tooth?
Some people have really large protrusions on the tongue side of their teeth. Remember how teeth form from all those separate lobes like we talked about with mamelons? Well in some people those lobes grow much larger than normal. The most common areas for this to happen are the canine teeth or the top molar teeth. On the canine teeth it is called a talon cusp because it looks like a big claw on the back side of the tooth. If it bothers you, sometimes your dentist can remove this area of the tooth but there is a chance of damage being done to the nerve. On the molar teeth this is known as a cusp of carabelli. Most people have a small one but occasionally people will have a really big one.
My Permanent Teeth Came In With Spots All Over Them? What Is Going On?
The most common reason for spots on permanent teeth is a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis occurs when you receive too much fluoride exposure when your teeth are developing. This causes discolored white and brown areas on the enamel of the teeth. This can range from very mild to very severe spotting and occasionally pits developing on the enamel. The one benefit to flurosis is that the teeth are usually more resistant to cavities.
Another common reason for spots is that the enamel didn’t form properly during development. This can happen if you were very sick, had a high fever, or any other of several other reasons. We usually call these “dysplastic” areas. These areas sometimes need immediate attention when the teeth first come in and sometimes they are fine for a long time.