Our teeth do a lot of work for us: they begin digesting our food, form the shape of our mouths, and are often the first thing others see when we smile. But how well do you know your teeth? What’s the difference between an incisor and a molar, and how many are there? Dr. McLauchlin at MAC Dental in Nixa, MO wants to help you understand your teeth.
Humans have two separate sets of teeth in our lifetime: primary and secondary. You know your primary teeth as your baby teeth, which are the ones that fall out in early childhood. Your secondary teeth are the ones that replace the primary teeth and have to last for the rest of your adult life.
There are 32 secondary teeth, but they aren’t all alike. Your teeth have different functions based on their location in the mouth and their shape. You can think of them like the players on your favorite sports team: each player has a position, but they work as a team to score points and win.
The average person usually has 32 secondary teeth but all teeth are not alike. Your teeth have different jobs based on their shapes and locations. You could think of them like the players on your favorite football team: each plays their own position but they work as a team to score points.
These are the eight teeth in the front of your mouth — four on top, four on bottom — that are primarily used to bite off pieces of food. These are the most prominent parts of your smile.
These sharp, pointed teeth resemble a dog’s fangs and are named after them. Humans have four canine teeth, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the incisors. Canines are used to rip and tear food, similar to the way a dog does.
Bicuspids are the often-forgotten-about part of the mouth. They’re also sometimes called premolars, and they’re similar to the molars in that they chew and grind food. We have four bicuspids in our mouths, two on top and two on the bottom, right behind the canines.
Molars have flat tops which are used to grind and chew up our food before we swallow. There are four molars on top of the mouth and four on the bottom, with two on each side. The molars are prone to tooth decay because it’s difficult to clean the back of the mouth.
Many people also see third molars, which are commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth,” due to the fact that they grow towards the end of adolescence and early adulthood.
Let Dr. McLauchlin know if you have any problems with your teeth. They have important jobs in the mouth and his team at MAC Dental offers professional, conservative care for the whole family. Request an appointment online or call 888.488.3049 to schedule today!