Meet Your Teeth: Types of Teeth

Humans get two sets of teeth in their lifetime.  The first set – the primary dentition – are typically referred to as your “baby teeth.”  These teeth come in around 6 months old and eventually being to fall out around 6 years of age to make room for the second set – or the secondary dentition.  This set comprises your permanent teeth (or adult teeth).

Adults can develop up to 32 teeth with 8 teeth in each quarter of the mouth (two incisors, one canine, two premolars, two molars, and one wisdom tooth).





Incisors are the middlemost four teeth on the upper and lower jaws.  The two teeth in the middle are called the central incisors, and the teeth on either side of your central incisors are referred to as your lateral incisors. The primary incisors are later replaced by the same number of adult incisors.  The primary function of these shovel-shaped teeth is to bite and cut food.



Canines (or “eye teeth”) are sharp, pointed teeth located next to your incisors. Humans have four canines in their mouth, two on the top and two on the bottom.  Canines help to rip and tear food apart.



A premolar (or bicuspid) tooth is a somewhat flat tooth with ridges on top.  Premolars are located between your canine and your molars.  These teeth are bigger and stronger than your front teeth.  Humans have four premolars on each side of their mouth, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw.  Premolars help you to chew, crush, and grind your food.



Molars also help you to chew and grind your food.  They are stronger than your premolars and they work with the tongue to help you to swallow. Humans have 12 molars that are located in the back of the mouth,


Wisdom Teeth

A wisdom tooth (or third molar) is a tooth that occurs for only some people and, if they occur, they develop around the ages of 17-20.  Many individual have their wisdom teeth removed by their dentist because they cause pain and/or overcrowding in their mouths.


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