Many people take their teeth for granted. Sure, they help us to chew our food, but have you ever given any thought to what might happen if you didn’t have teeth? Well, we recently came across a TikTok video of a woman grating a cucumber with her incisors and it caused us to pause for a moment (actually, our mouths hung wide open for a few minutes as we all tried to figure out what would cause anyone to do that). Yes – our teeth have incredible strength, but they are definitely NOT vegetable graters. On that note, today we’re going to discuss the four main types of teeth, their functionality and activities you should avoiding doing with your teeth.
The Four Main Types of Teeth
Your incisors those eight teeth in the front center of your mouth. There are four on the top and four on the bottom. Typically, these are the first teeth to come in, the first to fall out, and the first adult teeth a child will get between the ages of 6 and 8 years old.
Incisors have a narrow-edge, and are adapted for cutting. They are characteristically thin, flat-bottom teeth, and help us to make that initial bite into our food. We use our incisors to bite into food and then tug or pull the food into our mouth for further eating. Incisors are often referred to as anterior teeth or front teeth because of their prevalence in smiling and talking.
When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, incisors are often a source of discontent as they are often crooked. However, there are multiple ways to correct misaligned incisors, including treatments such as traditional braces, Invisalign or porcelain veneers.
Your canines are situated directly beside your incisors, and the next teeth to develop in your mouth. There are two on the top and two on the bottom for a total of four. These pointed teeth usually come in permanently around the age of ten, with the bottom cuspids arriving just before the upper cuspids. Your canines are your longest and sharpest teeth, with a pointed end, and only one implanted root. In addition to ripping food apart, their position on either side of the mouth help guide the mouth and other teeth into the best biting position. Unfortunately, because they are so sharp, they are often used to do other household tasks such as open plastic bags. Your Raleigh dentist recommends that you avoid using your teeth for any purpose beyond their natural function.
Premolars, or first molars, are the first molar teeth that tend to come in around twelve or thirteen years of age. They are positioned beside your canines and are the foremost molars in the mouth. The function of the premolars is to tear or crush food. Unlike your incisors or canines, premolars have a flat biting surface that is perfect for flattening food. There are eight premolars in an adult mouth (two in each quadrant of your mouth).
Finally, your molars are the teeth that we mostly commonly associate with chewing. Most simply put, they are large teeth with a flatter surface that are used to chew food into small, easily consumable pieces. Molars are our main masticators, and while the other three types of teeth assist in the process of eating, your molars hold main responsibility. Interestingly enough, there are several different types of molars, including the premolars we discussed above, the second molars and your wisdom teeth (also known as your third molars).
Wisdom teeth are often referred to as third molars because they are the last teeth to come into an adult mouth. These teeth sit so far in the back of your jaw that they can often cause issues if they are not removed. Therefore, many people have their wisdom teeth removed.
If you’re having trouble with any of your teeth, be sure to give Dr. Katherine E. Garrett a call to schedule your appointment. Or if you’re looking for a new Raleigh dentist, we’d love to provide dental care for your entire family and new patients are always welcome. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!