Our teeth are an essential part of our bodies but how well do you know your set of pearly whites? They help you chew. They play an important role in forming the shape of your mouth and consequently your entire face. They are the building blocks of your smile which is what your use to make first impressions on others. Yet many of us don’t know which tooth is an incisor and which is a molar.
All About Teeth
We human beings have two separate sets of teeth in our lifetime: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. The primary teeth are also known as your “baby teeth”. This is because they begin growing in when we are only about six months old and are usually all in place by the time we reach three years of age. Our secondary teeth are also known as the “adult teeth”. These begin growing in as the primary teeth begin to fall out. This process usually happens between the ages of six and twelve years old.
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.
The Types of Teeth
- Incisors: These are the eight teeth in the very front of your mouth. We have four incisors on the bottom and four on top. Incisors are primarily used for biting off pieces of food.
- Canines: These sharp, pointed teeth are named after the fangs of a canine (dog) because of their appearance. People have four canine teeth, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors. Canines are used to rip and tear food much the way your dog uses his teeth.
- Bicuspids: These teeth, sometimes called premolars, are used for chewing and grinding foods. Our four bicuspids are located two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.
- Molars: Our flat-topped molars are also used for chewing and grinding and grow at rear of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom, two on each side. Your molars are located in an area that commonly experiences tooth decay due the fact that it can be difficult to clean teeth as thoroughly in the back of your mouth. Most people also grow third molars, more commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” due to their relatively late arrival (late teens to early twenties). Four third molars can erupt, one each side, top and bottom. Wisdom teeth that fail to emerge are said to be impacted and require a surgical procedure to remove. These are also prone to tooth decay due to their location at the very rear of the mouth.
Now that you know your pearly whites a little better, you will be better able to communicate with Dr. Petkevis when you may be having a problem with them. For example, if you have pain in the upper rear left of your mouth when you chew, you can tell Dr. Petkevis that you may have an issue with one of your top left molars.
The team is only as strong as its weakest player, so be sure to schedule regular cleanings and exams with Dr. Petkevis in Chester Springs PA to keep your team strong. To schedule call 610.400.1459 or request an appointment online.