Types Of Teeth – Their Shapes And Functions

Written by Atulya Satishkumar Experience: 4 years
Last Updated on

Your pearly whites and the structure of your jaw play an important role in the way you speak, eat, and look. Unfortunately, many of us take our teeth for granted and do not maintain a good oral hygiene routine. By the time you realize it, it is often too late.

Do not worry! In this article, we are going to share everything you need to know about your teeth. Once you are through with this post, you will be better informed of the needs of your teeth and give them the attention they deserve.

What Are The Different Types Of Teeth?

Your teeth form the most integral part of your smile. This makes it all the more important to know what constitutes your teeth and how to maintain them.

The teeth are composed of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. The major component of the teeth is a calcified tissue called dentin (1). The dentin is covered in a hard, shiny layer known as the enamel. This makes up the outermost layer of your teeth and is the part visible to us (2).

The teeth help you chew your food and speak comprehensively. The number of teeth in your mouth varies as you grow older, and the eruption process is meticulous and intricate (3).

Infants are born without any teeth. As they grow older, the teeth start to appear one by one. Children have all their 20 primary teeth by the age of 3. These teeth are called milk teeth (4).

As they grow older, between the ages of 6 and 12 years, these milk teeth fall off and give way to permanent teeth. Usually, by the time you are 21, you will have all of your permanent teeth in place.

Let us now take a look at the types of teeth.

Children have the following set of milk teeth:

  • 4 incisors
  • 2 canines
  • 4 molars

The first teeth to erupt from their gums are usually the incisors.

Adults have 32 permanent or secondary teeth. These include:

  • 8 incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 8 premolars
  • 8 molars
  • 4 wisdom teeth

Let us now explore each of these types in detail.

Children have the following set of milk teeth
Image: Shutterstock

What Are Incisors?

The incisors are the teeth that are located in the front portion of your jaws. An adult will have eight incisors, four each on the upper and lower jaws.

They are shaped like chisels with sharp edges to help you bite into your food. These are the teeth that appear first in the jaws of an infant. They first appear at the age of 6 months and then fall off between the ages of 6 and 12 years, giving way to the adult set of incisors.

What Are Canines?

Typically, everyone has four canines. Canines are the second set of teeth that grow right after your incisors. You will have two canines in your upper jaw and two in your lower jaw. Canines are designed in a manner that helps in tearing your food. A sharp, pointy shape characterizes them.

The primary canines come in at the age of 16-20 months. It is observed that the upper canines grow first, and then the lower ones come in. However, this is reversed when the permanent canines come in. The lower ones appear around the age of 9 years, and the upper canines come in around the ages of 11 and 12.

What Are Premolars?

The next set of teeth are your premolars. They are usually eight in number. There are four premolars on the upper jaw, and four on the lower jaw. When you compare the teeth based on their sizes, premolars are bigger than both canines and incisors. They have a characteristic flat shape with ridges. These ridges help you crush and grind the food, making it easier to swallow.

In kids, the milk molar teeth are the ones that are replaced by premolars. Premolars don’t show up until you are 10-12 years old.

What Are Molars?

Every adult has 12 molar teeth. These are the biggest and strongest teeth of the set. You will find six molars in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw. Of the 12 molars, eight of them come in between the ages of 6 and 12 years.

Molars are characterized by a large surface area that helps in grinding food. When you eat, your tongue helps push the food to the back of your mouth. The molars then break down the food into smaller pieces to aid easy swallowing.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth
Image: Shutterstock

Last, but not least, we have wisdom teeth. These are the last of the molars to come in. They appear between the ages of 17 and 25 years.

Some people may not have enough room in their mouth for the wisdom teeth. This can lead to the wisdom teeth to be ‘impacted’ and cause them to be stuck in the gums (5). If this problem aggravates, the wisdom tooth may have to be removed.

We hope this article was informative and gave you an insight into the types and structure of your teeth. You must follow a strict oral hygiene routine to ensure the good health of your teeth and gums. Regular visits to the dentist will give you a general idea of what you must do to maintain caries-free teeth and healthy gums.

Did you find this post helpful? Do let us know in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which teeth are the most important?

All your teeth are important as each set of teeth has a different role and function. However, not all adults have 32 permanent teeth. The loss of teeth can be attributed to extraction for medical or cosmetic purposes.

Does everyone have the same amount of teeth?

Typically, adults have 32 teeth. In the case of caries, impacted wisdom teeth, or aesthetic issues, such as overcrowding, you may have to get a few of your teeth extracted. In such cases, adults have at least 28 teeth.

How many roots do maxillary molars have?

Studies show that maxillary first molar has three roots.

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‘Techie by day, writer by night’ is how she described herself before embarking on the journey of writing. Her strong belief in the magic of the written word, coupled with a very keen eye for detail, helps her guide her team to create quality content.

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