Most of us probably don’t give too much thought as to the different types of teeth we have and what their functions are. If you take a look in the mirror at your teeth you will notice that our teeth are quite unique and come is many different shapes and sizes.
Along with our teeth playing an important role in speech, being indicators of our overall health, the primary function of our teeth is to break down food by cutting and crushing it into easy to swallow pieces which prepares the food for digestion.
Adults have an average of 32 permanent teeth and each tooth has its own function and is designed to do different things. The four different types of teeth in the mouth and their functions are:
The middlemost four teeth on the top and bottom in your mouth. The two in the middle are the central incisors, the two on either side are called lateral incisors. These teeth easily cut and shear food into small pieces and help move food inwards into your mouth and towards other teeth. These are the teeth that are typically used with the first bite when biting into foods such as apples, veggie sticks or sandwiches.
Are the sharpest of teeth and located next to the incisors at the corners of the mouth. Sometimes they are called fang or eye teeth because of their pointy shape and sharpness. There are four canines, two on the top and two on the bottom and their function is to tear and shred food apart. Canines have the longest root of all teeth and are often referred to as the cornerstone of the dental arch as they are the start of the curve that leads to the back teeth.
There are eight premolars in the mouth two on each side of the mouth that sit behind the canine tooth. Premolars have a couple of sharp points on them which is helpful for piercing food as well as a flat surface which grind food into small particles. Premolars look like a mix between a canine and molar.
Molars are the last teeth at the back of your mouth. They are the largest and flattest teeth with a total of up to twelve in the mouth. There are three molars on either side and top and bottom of our mouth. The last molar is a wisdom tooth, which often is extracted.
The purpose of molars are to chew and grind down food into smaller pieces. As you eat food, your tongue pushes it back into your mouth towards the molars so they can grind down the foods into small, easy to swallow pieces.
To view a chart of all the types of teeth and their names click here.
Aside from teeth playing a vital role for us to be able chew food, teeth are also an important part of our appearance and structure of the face and helps with our speech and the pronunciation of certain sounds and words.
You may notice that your lips and cheeks are supported directly on your teeth, without them or even with missing teeth facial muscles can sag creating a sunken in appearance. Without teeth, speaking can also be challenging as the tongue working with the teeth is used to created certain sounds and words.
The dentists at North Burnaby Dental Group encourage everyone to do their best maintaining a good oral hygiene routine along with regular dental check ups to keep teeth healthy and functioning at their best.
If you have questions about your teeth and your oral health please ask your dentist at North Burnaby Dental Group as they will be happy to answer them.