Your teeth are essentially physiological tools whose reliable strength and precise structure allow you to eat and properly digest a variety of foods. As you likely know, there are several different kinds of teeth lining your gums, and each one has a different role. So what are the types of human teeth? What function does each one serve? Knowing the answers to these questions may help you take better care of your teeth. Plus, it will impress your dentist!
Types of Human Teeth and What They Do
Most adults have between 28 and 32 teeth. Of that amount, there are four main types of human teeth making up your smile. Working from the front of your mouth to the back, your mouth contains the following types of teeth:
These are the teeth at the forefront of your mouth that are flat along the edges — the teeth most prominent in your smile and the ones the song “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” was written about. Their purpose is to help bite off your food for you. Since they’re the first of the four types of teeth to form, parents often start to notice incisors in their babies’ mouths at just six months of age. You have eight incisors total.
Your canines are the sharp, pointy teeth right next to your incisors. After the incisors, they’re the next type of tooth to develop; canines begin to erupt from the gums at around 16 months of age. These teeth serve a role that’s similar to that of the incisors: In biting the food, the canines help tear it apart. Of all the types of human teeth, we have the least number of canines. You only have four canine teeth.
Premolars (or Bicuspids)
Premolars (also known as bicuspids) are just past your pointy canines. Their job is to grind up and chew your food for you. Premolars are unique in that they don’t erupt until a person is older and ready for their permanent teeth; they’re actually the last of the types of human teeth to start showing. People will see their premolars coming in at around age 10. Premolars are one of the types of teeth you’re most likely to see cavities in, as food or plaque can get trapped in the teeth’s ridges if you aren’t brushing properly. Like your incisors, you have eight premolars.
Molars, the large teeth with deeper ridges at the very back of your mouth, are also for grinding and chewing food, but these teeth are bigger and stronger than the premolars. Children start to get their molars at around 12 to 15 months. They’ll see their first set of molars emerge at around six years and their second set at around 11 years. Your molars are the other type of tooth in which you might find cavities if you’re not brushing well twice a day. You have eight molars in total — four on each side.
Not everyone has this last type of tooth: the third molar. You might know it better as the wisdom tooth. If a person does have third molars, they’ll notice them erupting from the gums when they’re around 18 years old. You can have anywhere from zero to four wisdom teeth (this is why some people have 32 teeth and others have 28), but in many cases, your dentist will recommend removing them in order to prevent them from shifting around your other teeth.
The four main types of human teeth may serve different functions, but no one type is more or less important than any of the others. Give them all the care and attention they deserve by brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular visits to your dentist.
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist in or near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. Schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!