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Understanding the Different Types of Teeth

You may not give it a lot of thought, however, there are several different types of teeth—and each one has a very different jobs in your mouth.

Your teeth are made of proteins and minerals. Teeth are one of the strongest parts of the body and help you chew and speak—in addition to holding the shape of your face. Most adults have 32 teeth. This includes the 8 incisors, 4 cuspids (canines), 8 bicuspids (premolars) and 12 molars.


Incisors are the teeth at the front of your mouth. You have 4 up top and 4 on the bottom. The sharp edges of the incisors allows you bite into something (think apple). Most people get incisors first as babies and they are the first to fall out and be replaced by adult incisors at around age 6.


Canine teeth are the 4 teeth that are next to incisors and they have sharp pointed tips, perfect for ripping food. Adult canines appear on the bottom about age 9 and on top about age 11.


The average adult has 8 premolars that sit next to the canine teeth. These teeth are bigger and have a flat surface with ridges that are ideal for crushing and grinding food into smaller pieces in order to swallow. Premolars come in around 10 and replace baby molars.


Molars are the strongest and biggest teeth. These 12 teeth come in in waves, roughly at age 6 and age 12. Molars are for grinding teeth and breaking it down so it can swallowed. Wisdom teeth are included in the molar count. These 4 teeth come in last around 18-25 and are sometimes removed because there is no room in the mouth for them.

Each tooth is important, as is taking care of them. Regular brushing and flossing, healthy food and good habits along with regular dental checkups will help ensure your adult teeth last your lifetime.

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