Types Of Teeth And Their Functions

Posted By The Friendly Dentists Team / / Dental Knowledge / 0 Comments

Our mouth is just a small part of our overall anatomy but it’s filled with many key parts that all work together to help you eat, speak and give you a beautiful smile. We know how important it is to look after our mouth but do we know anything about the kinds of teeth we have and the different parts that make up our mouth? To make sure we take utmost care of our mouth, it’s important to arm ourselves with the dental knowledge about every part of the mouth.
Here is everything you need to know about the types of teeth you have and the purposes they serve.

The very first baby teeth

The first set of teeth we develop are known as baby teeth. These start coming out when you’re around 6 months of age. These are also called deciduous teeth as these fall out – like the leaves on a deciduous tree – to make room for the permanent teeth.

The adult teeth

Once your baby teeth fall out – at the age of 6 – adult or permanent teeth start showing up and are fully developed by the time you’re 12. These are called permanent teeth because if you look after them properly, they last permanently with you.

The incisors

Incisors are sharp, chisel-shaped teeth at the front of your mouth – four at the top and four at the bottom. These help in biting into your food and also pronouncing certain syllables. Incisors also support your lips.


Canines are pointy teeth, one on each side of the incisors, making four in total. These are called cuspids by dentists and the main function they serve is to tear and grasp food. These also help support our lips and also help guide other teeth into place when the upper and lower jaw come together.


Premolars are behind the canines – 2 on each side of the canines, making eight in total. The premolars help in chewing food and maintaining the height of the face.


Molars, 12 of them altogether, are located next to the premolars, three on each side. Molars are your widest and flattest teeth and like your premolars, these also help in chewing and maintaining the height of your face.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last and final molars to appear. They usually show between the ages of 17 and 21. They are known as wisdom teeth because they appear when you’re older and supposedly wiser.

Since these are located far back in your mouth, wisdom teeth often create trouble when coming out and may have to be removed. Cleaning these teeth is also a cumbersome task as most brush heads aren’t narrow enough to reach the far corners of your mouth. However, using a toothbrush with a small brush head can help.

Supernumerary teeth

Sometimes extra teeth develop that are outside the normal process and in excess of the 32 teeth that normally appear in adults. These are called supernumerary teeth. An example of this is an extra incisor or an extra canine. An extra molar might also develop other than the wisdom tooth, which is known as paramolar.

Natal Teeth

Natal teeth are the teeth present at the time of birth. These occur in every 2000 to 3000 births. These teeth have little or no roots and so they fall out easily before baby teeth come in. Doctors usually recommend taking them out because of the risk of inhaling the tooth. If not removed, these teeth that usually appear on the lower gum, can irritate baby’s tongue or the mother while nursing. Natal teeth can also be a symptom of some underlying medical condition, though it’s usually not a cause of concern.

The Different Parts Of A Tooth

Now that we know the different kinds of teeth we have, let’s take a look at the structure of the tooth and see what one tiny tooth is made up of.

– Enamel coating
The enamel is the outer most coating on your tooth. It’s the hardest and most mineralized layer of tissue. The enamel can be damaged by tooth decay if the teeth aren’t brushed and flossed regularly.

– Dentine
Dentine is the layer of the tooth under the enamel coating. It contains millions of tiny tubes that lead directly to the pulp. If the enamel is worn out, the dentine is exposed.

– Pulp
The pulp is the soft tissue that’s located in the center of a tooth and contains tiny blood vessels and nerve tissues. If the pulp is infected because of tooth decay, it leads to severe pain and might make a root canal treatment necessary.

Regardless of the type of teeth, it’s crucial that you look after them to protect yourself from oral problems that can even cost you your teeth.


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