Most people don’t spend much time actually thinking about their teeth, but it’s a pretty interesting topic if you consider the composition of your teeth and the different types and functions. You may have learned the different types of teeth when you were a child, but if you’re still curious, let’s look at the different teeth and the specific functions they serve.
Starting at the front of the mouth, we have the incisors, typically four at the top and four at the bottom – both central incisors and lateral incisors. These are relatively flat teeth with a sharp, thin edge at the top, which allows them to cut the food you bite into using the front of your mouth. They are also important for speech as some of the letter sounds we make require the tongue to make contact with these front teeth.
Next to each of your lateral incisors there is a canine tooth, meaning we typically have four of these – two on the top and two on the bottom. These teeth are sharp and pointed at the top, helping you tear tougher food that can’t be cut with your incisors, such as meat. Their positioning around the edge of your lips also means they form the corners of your mouth, meaning the shape of your mouth can be affected if these are missing or removed.
Next, each canine tooth has two premolars to the side of it, making 8 in total in the average adult mouth. Premolars are also known as bicuspids, referring to the two sharp points at the top of the teeth. These are thicker and larger than the two teeth listed above, and are used to crush food when chewing. Premolars only come in with our adult teeth.
Molars are the second type of teeth that grow in with our adult teeth, with two teeth adjacent to each of your second premolars, making 8 in total. These are larger teeth with ridges on their surface, allowing you to grind tougher food like meat when chewing.
Your wisdom teeth are a type of molar that grow in later, typically from the age of 17 and onward. Adults have four wisdom teeth if the teeth are fully developed, but some people have their wisdom teeth removed if there are any problems when they grow in, such as impaction or a lack of space in the mouth.
Make sure all your teeth are in good health with regular dental check-ups. Contact Advance Family Dentists to book an appointment for you or your family in Advance, NC.