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Different Teeth, Different Purposes

Our teeth are essential to chew food and allow our body to get the nutrients it needs to survive. When you think about it, it may seem strange that all your teeth aren’t the same shape, size or even color. Instead, each tooth has a unique contour and design to serve a specific type of function.

Each Tooth Is Essential

Simply put, your teeth are shaped differently because they’re each designed to do different things. Preview these images for the location of each tooth and read about its function below.

adult teeth chart

baby teeth chart

Incisors: Otherwise known as your front teeth, your incisors are sharp and made to bite food. Usually, these are the first ones to erupt when a child starts getting their teeth. There are eight incisors total in both adults and children.

Canines: The next teeth over are the canines, which have long roots to grasp food and tear it. You may notice that these teeth have a darker yellow tint than others, due to the thick dentin that lies below the enamel surface. Each person has four canines; two in the upper, and two in the lower arch.

Premolars: Found only in adults, these are the teeth just behind your canines. They are also known as bicuspids. The eight premolars have a flatter chewing surface that enables your food to be ground up for digestion. Premolars are generally some of the last permanent teeth to erupt in children, replacing their primary molars.

Molars: Finally, behind the premolars, you’ll find your molars. These large teeth also have a flat surface for further grinding to help break the food into even smaller pieces. Children have eight molars while adults have 12 – 4 of which are the wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth: Your wisdom teeth are the final set of molars, but they generally do not erupt until your late teens, or sometimes later. In some cases, they may need to be removed if they compromise the rest of your teeth.

Each of your teeth has a vital role in helping your body to ingest the nutrients it needs so that you can function. Remember, regular checkups will make sure that you never have to compromise your oral health! Schedule your appointment today!

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