The Function of Each Tooth

The Function of Each Tooth

Teeth help you chew your food to make it easier to digest, and each type of tooth has a slightly different shape for their respective job. They also help make your smile great! The five types of teeth include:

  • Incisors
  • Canines/Cuspids
  • Premolars
  • Molars
  • Third Molars

Incisors
Often the first adult teeth that grow in after our baby teeth, incisors first come in at six-months-old, and then the adult ones make their presence seen between years six and eight. Making up most of our smile, there are eight incisors in the mouth; four in the top-center of our mouth and four in the bottom-center.

These teeth are characteristically thin, flat-bottom teeth that help us to make the initial bite on our food. We bite into food with our incisors, tugging and pulling into our mouths. Incisors have a narrow-edge, and are adapted for cutting. The incisors are situated between the cuspids, or canines, and are often referred to as anterior teeth or front teeth because of their prevalence in
smiling and talking.

Canines/Cuspids
Your four canines are the next type of teeth to develop. These teeth are your sharpest, and are used for ripping and tearing food apart. Primary canines generally appear between 16- and 20-months-old in babies, with the upper canines coming in just ahead of the lower canines. In permanent teeth, the order is reversed, with lower canines coming-in around age nine and the uppers arriving between 10- and 12- years of age.

Canines, are the closest link between the human mouth and that of a carnivorous predator, like a lion or bear. One feature of canine teeth is the fact that they are our longest teeth, with a pointed end, and surprisingly, only one implanted root. Canines rip food, but their position on either side of the mouth help guide the mouth and other teeth into the best biting position.

Premolars
Premolars sit next to the cuspids in the mouth and are the foremost molars in the mouth. Also known as bicuspids, premolars are used for chewing and grinding food. Adults have four premolars on each side of their mouths — two on the upper and two on the lower jaw.
The first premolars appear around age 10, with the second premolars arriving about a year later. However, sometimes premolars come in around 12 or 13 years of age. There are no primary (baby teeth) premolars, but they do take the places of the first and second primary molars (described below).

Molars
Molars are our main masticators–that is, molars are the teeth we most commonly associate with chewing. Primary molars, also known as deciduous molars, appear between 12 and 28 months, and are replaced by the first and second premolars (four upper and four lower) described above.

The permanent molars (also four upper and four lower) do not replace any primary teeth, but come in behind all of them, further back in the jaw. The first permanent molars appear at around age six (before the primary molars fall out), while the second molars come in between ages 11 and 13.

So while premolars replace the first and second primary molars, the adult primary molars come in replacing nothing. This might sound tricky, but the discrepancy comes from type of molar itself, not just what it replaces!

Third Molars
The third molars are commonly known as wisdom teeth. These are the last teeth to develop and don't typically erupt until age 18 to 20. Some people never develop third molars at all. For those who do, these molars may cause crowding and need to be removed. If they don't fully erupt they are said to be impacted, and are commonly removed. Talk to your dentist about the removal of
these teeth – even if you feel no pain in their growth!

Your teeth are important, and with proper care they can last you a lifetime. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you have any questions about your teeth! Call Westermeier Martin Dental Care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-508-4547.

2018-10-23T15:10:03+00:00October 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|