While most of us think of our teeth as just ‘teeth,’ in fact there’s a lot more to them than that. The different types of teeth in our mouths have multiple functions and purposes and each one has an impact on our overall health. Therefore, this blog will cover the different types of teeth and their functions.
Every mouth has eight incisors. These teeth are positioned at the front of your mouth and are thin and straight. The four incisors at the top and the four incisors at the bottom are perfectly designed for biting into food. They are also key for supporting the shape of the mouth and lips and ensuring that you can pronounce words properly.
We only have four canines and they are some of the most distinctive types of teeth. These slightly pointed gnashers are the most powerful when it comes to cutting food. They also play an important role in lining up your upper and lower jaw when they come together to bite.
Premolars have a dual role – to help with chewing food and also to maintain the height of your face. There are four premolars on either side of an adult mouth – these are some of the last teeth to come through and most don’t start to appear until aged 10.
The molars are the real working teeth in the mouth and are the first to appear, pushing through at any time from 12 to 15 months (these are the primary molars, which are later replaced). The purpose of molars is to break down the food that we eat so that it can be comfortably and safely swallowed. These are the widest, flattest teeth in the mouth (12 in total) and are ideal for chewing and grinding. The only molars that buck the trend are the ‘Third Molars’ – these are the wisdom teeth and tend to be the last teeth to come through around aged 18 to 20.
It’s not uncommon for us to have more teeth than the standard 32. When this happens, those additional teeth are called ‘Supernumerary Teeth.’ Supernumeraries are often incisors but it’s also possible to develop an extra canine tooth or two.
In every 2,000 to 3,000 births, children are born with teeth in tact and these are called ‘Natal Teeth.’ As they have a tendency to fall out and end up being swallowed – and as they can injure the baby’s tongue when nursing – it’s advisable to have them removed.
The different types of teeth we all have require care and attention. We have more information on the types of dental treatments available to keep your teeth healthy.