New Patients 410-449-7656

Can You Name the 4 Types of Teeth?

dentures towson md dentistWhether we realize it or not, our teeth have a lot to do with how our faces look, how we talk, and how we eat. They help us chew, shape our mouths and faces, and make up your smile, yet many of us don’t know the difference between bicuspids and incisors! Take a moment to learn about your smile and the types of teeth with Towson, MD dentist Dr. Kevin Welinsky.

Primary and Secondary Teeth

Humans develop two distinct sets of teeth in our lifetime: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. You’re probably familiar with “baby teeth,” which is another name for the primary teeth, which begin erupting around 6 months of age. The secondary teeth, or “adult teeth,” are what develop around age 6 and last for the rest of our lives.

Most people have 32 adult teeth — depending on whether you grow wisdom teeth — and they all have different jobs based on their shapes. You can think of them like players on a sports team: each has their own position but they work as a team.

4 Types of Teeth

Incisors: These are the eight teeth in the very front of your mouth. We have four incisors on the bottom and four on top. These are primarily used for biting off pieces of food.

Canines: These teeth are named after the fangs of a canine (dog) due to their sharp, pointed appearance. We have four canines, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors. Canine teeth are used to rip and tear food.

Bicuspids: These teeth, also known as premolars, are used for chewing and grinding foods. We have four bicuspids, two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.

Molars: These flat-topped teeth, also used for chewing and grinding, grow at the rear of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom, two on each side. Molars are an area that commonly experience tooth decay due the fact that they are used constantly but can be difficult to clean as thoroughly. Many people also grow third molars, more commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” due to their late arrival (late teens to early twenties). Four third molars will erupt, one each side, top and bottom. Wisdom teeth that fail to emerge are said to be impacted and require a surgical procedure to remove. These are also prone to tooth decay due to their location at the very rear of the mouth.

Comprehensive Dental Care in Towson

Now that you know your teeth a little better, you will be better able to communicate when you may be having a problem. For example, if you have pain in the top front of your mouth when you bite, you may have an issue with one of your top incisors. At the very least, maybe you now appreciate the roles your teeth play in chewing on your food. It’s been said that a good team is only as strong as its weakest player. This is why it’s important to schedule regular cleanings and exams with Dr. Welinsky in Towson MD. To schedule your appointment, call (410) 692-8453 or request an appointment online.