Take a moment to consider how important your smile is to your everyday function and health. Your teeth help you chew and digest food as well as speak the way you do. Your smile is a strong communicator of love, happiness, self-confidence and pride. To truly appreciate your teeth, it is important to learn more about their structure and function.
You’ve probably noticed that not all of your teeth are the same. There are different types of teeth that each have a specific shape to perform a certain job.
- Front and center are your incisors. These make up the four bottom and four top teeth that are most visible when you smile. Your incisors are designed to help you take bites of food, and they are the first to erupt.
- Your sharpest teeth are called canines. You have four of them surrounding your incisor teeth. They are designed with a sharp point so that you can rip or tear food apart.
- Also referred to as bicuspids, your premolars are towards the back of your mouth and they are responsible for grinding food. The first premolars appear around age 10 and the second premolars arrive about a year later.
- Primary molars (or deciduous molars) also help you chew and grind food. The first molars erupt around 6 years of age (before the primary molars fall out) while the second molars come in between 11 and 13 years of age.
- Third molars
- More commonly known as “wisdom teeth,” your third molars are the last to develop. In many cases, these molars will not have room to grow in straight or they can fail to erupt at all. Therefore, it is common to have these third molars remove as a teenager or young adult to prevent complications.
Each tooth in your mouth, regardless of the type, contains specific structures. These include the crown and root, which can be further divided into the enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp layers of your tooth. Learning more about your anatomy of your teeth can help you appreciate your smile as well as better understand what is going on if you ever experience dental problems. Dr. Mitzi Morris welcomes your questions and concerns regarding your teeth and why they are made the way they are. Your mouth is a fascinating part of your body that significantly impacts your overall health.