Our teeth do a lot for us. We use them to chew. We use them to smile which helps you make a good first impression on others. And they play a big part shaping your entire face. But many of us don’t know our molars from our bicuspids from our incisors. This is where Dr. Harry W. McCool of Lilburn, GA comes in. Take a moment to learn about the four different types of teeth there are with Dr. McCool.
Primary vs. Secondary Teeth
Human beings grow two sets of teeth in our lifetimes: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. The primary teeth are widely known as the “baby teeth” because they begin coming in when we are only about six months old and are usually all in place when we’re still only three years old. The secondary teeth are also known as the “adult teeth”. These teeth begin growing in as the primary teeth begin falling out. This process usually occurs between the ages of six and twelve years old for most people.
The average full grown adult usually has 32 secondary teeth but they are not all identical. Your teeth have different jobs based on their locations and their shapes. You could think of them like the players on a baseball team: each their player has their position on the field but they work together as a team.
The Types of Teeth
Incisors: These eight teeth are in the very front of your mouth and are primarily for biting off pieces of food. We have four incisors on the bottom and four on top.
Canines: These teeth are named after the fangs of a dog — a canine — due to their sharp, pointed appearance. We have four canine teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors, used to rip and tear our food.
Bicuspids: Also known as premolars, bicuspids are used for chewing and grinding foods. We have four bicuspids, two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.
Molars: These flat-topped teeth, which are also used for chewing and grinding, grow at the rear of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom, two on each side. Molars commonly experience tooth decay due the fact that they can be difficult to clean as thoroughly because of their location in the very back of the mouth. Many people also grow third molars, more commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” due to their late arrival (late teens to early twenties). Four third molars will erupt, one each side, top and bottom. Wisdom teeth that are present in x-rays but fail to emerge are said to be impacted and require a surgical procedure to remove before they become infected and cause pain. Wisdom teeth are also especially prone to tooth decay due to their location at the very rear of the mouth.
Comprehensive Dental Care in Lilburn, GA
Now that you know you teeth a little better, you will be better able to communicate with Dr. McCool when you may be having a problem. For example, if you have pain in the top front of your mouth when you bite, you may have an issue with one of your top incisors. At the very least, maybe you now appreciate the roles your teeth play in chewing on your food and why you need them all to chew properly. After all, in sports, it’s often been said that a good team is only as strong as its weakest player. To keep your team in shape and ready to play, schedule regular cleanings and exams with Dr. McCool in Lilburn. Call (770) 450-4407 to schedule or request an appointment online.