Our teeth help us chew and are essential in shaping your mouth and face. Your smile is made up of your teeth which helps you make first impressions on others. Yet many people can’t tell the difference between a bicuspid and an incisor. Dr. Vernon Sheen, a respected dentist in Annapolis, MD, would like to take a moment to educate our readers about the four different types of teeth in their mouths.
Primary vs. Secondary Teeth
We grow two sets of teeth in our lifetime: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. The primary teeth are called the “baby teeth” by most people because they begin to come in when we are only about six months old and are usually all grown in by the time we are three years old.
The secondary teeth, also known as the “adult teeth”, begin to appear as the baby teeth begin falling out. This adult teeth normally come in between the ages of six and twelve years old. The average adult person usually has 32 adult teeth but these teeth are not interchangeable. Your teeth are shaped differently and have different jobs depending on where they are located in your mouth. Just like the players on your favorite football team, each plays their own position but they work together as a team to chew your food.
The Types of Teeth
Incisors: These are the eight teeth in the very front of your mouth, four incisors on top and four on the bottom. Incisors are primarily used for biting off pieces of food.
Canines: Canines are named after the fangs of a dog due to their sharp, pointy appearance and are primarily used to rip and tear food. We have four canines, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors.
Bicuspids: Also known as the premolars, these teeth are used for chewing and grinding food. We have four bicuspids, two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.
Molars: Molars are flat-topped teeth at the rear of your mouth used for chewing and grinding, grow at the rear of your mouth. There are two molars on either side of your mouth; eight in total. Molars are very susceptible to tooth decay because they are used constantly but can be difficult to clean thoroughly. Many people also grow third molars, more commonly called “wisdom teeth” due to their late arrival in the early twenties or late teens. Four third molars usually emerge, one each side, top and bottom. Wisdom teeth that do not emerge are said to be impacted and usually require surgery to remove. These, like the other molars, are especially prone to tooth decay due to their location at the very rear of the mouth.
Comprehensive Dental Care in Annapolis, MD
Now that you know a little more about your teeth, you will be better able to communicate with Dr. Sheen when you may be having a problem. For example, if you have pain in the rear of your mouth when you chew, you may have an issue with one of your molars. This is why it’s important to schedule regular exams and cleanings with Dr. Sheen in Annapolis. To schedule call (443) 482- 5202 or request an appointment online.