We’re taught from a young age the importance of taking care of our teeth and how to do it. But not all teeth are the same. There are four types of teeth in a mouth, each performing a different function. These include:
- Incisors: Eight thin straight teeth at the front of the mouth. Supports your lips, biting into food and pronouncing words.
- Canines: Four in total, on each side of your incisors on the top and bottom of your mouth. Canines are used to cut food, support the lips and guide your jaw in place when you close your mouth.
- Premolars: Located behind your canines, premolars have a flat top and help you chew food and maintain the height of your face. You have 8 total – 4 on the top and the bottom.
- Molars: Behind your premolars are your molars. Also used to chew food and support the height of your face, they are the flattest and widest teeth your mouth. With 12 total, you have 6 on the top and 6 on the bottom.
Primary vs. Permanent Teeth
During your life you have two sets of teeth: primary and permanent. Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, hold a place in the jaw for when the permanent start coming in. Children start out with 20 primary teeth, 10 on the top and 10 on the bottom, which then are replaced with 32 permanent teeth.
The first permanent teeth to come in are the 6-year molars around the age of 6 or 7. These are extra teeth that are not replacing any primary teeth. By the age of 13, most children have at least 28 teeth; 4 central incisors, 4 lateral incisors, 8 premolars, 4 canines and 8 molars. The last teeth to come in are your wisdom teeth and that could take until 17-21 to push through the gums.
Anatomy of a Tooth
Now that we know about each type of tooth and how many we have, let’s discuss the anatomy of a tooth. Your teeth are made up of four different dental tissues – enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp. The first three mentioned, enamel, dentin and cementum, are hard tissues while the 4th, pulp, is a soft tissue.
While this information might have helped you understand what your mouth is made of, the health issues that can arise are just as important to understand. Every mouth is different and requires a personalized treatment plan, especially when trying to address any oral health issues. To start the process toward a healthier mouth and smile, make an appointment with your dentist.