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780-977-4446

What Are the Four Types of Teeth and Their Functions?


We sometimes take our teeth for granted, but they’re essential for healthy functioning.

Teeth help us speak clearly, as well as chew and tear food. They also give us our unique smiles.

Most adults have between 28 and 32 teeth, depending on whether or not they have undergone wisdom tooth removal. However, not all teeth are the same. There are four tooth types, and each has its own purpose.

What Are the Four Types of Teeth?

The four types of teeth fall into the following categories:

  • Canines: With their long roots and pointed ends, canines are in both the upper and bottom jaw. They’re located right behind the corners of the mouth, typically.
  • Incisors: These are the teeth at the front of the mouth and the most visible ones when we smile.
  • Bicuspids: Also called premolars, the bicuspids come after the canines and are flatter than the canines and incisors.
  • Molars: At the back of your mouth, you’ll find wide, flat molars. They have the most upper surface area of any teeth.

What Is the Function of a Canine Tooth?

Thanks to its sharp end, the canine tooth can help rip apart food. Your canines depend on your incisors and vice versa. Without canines, it would be more difficult to tear into harder items like crusty loaves of bread or cooked meats.

What Is the Function of an Incisor?

An incisor cuts into food with surprising precision. If you’ve ever noticed, after biting into a sandwich, your incisors will leave obvious lines that form an arc.

What Is the Function of a Bicuspid?

Your bicuspids don’t need to tear anything apart because your canines and incisors have already handled those first steps. By the time food gets to the bicuspids, it’s ready to be crushed into smaller pieces.

What Is the Function of a Molar?

Similar to bicuspids, molars grind down food into tiny particles that are easier to swallow. Molars are well-anchored into the jawbone to ensure they can handle the force of constantly chewing soft and hard items.

What Happens If You Lose a Tooth?

The four types of teeth are meant to work effortlessly together. When you lose a tooth or need to have a tooth extracted, with the exception of wisdom teeth, you may want to consider a replacement.

Dental bridges can provide non-surgical replacements for one or more missing teeth. Traditional removable dentures can be an option as well if you’re missing all the teeth in your upper or lower arch.

If you’re looking for a nearly permanent solution for missing teeth, consider talking to your dentist about dental implants. As long as you are generally healthy and have enough jawbone density, you could be a good candidate for surgical dental implant placement.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Every tooth is important. Consequently, make time to take care of your teeth and the surrounding gums. Stay up to date with semi-annual dental visits and contact your dental provider if you notice any changes in your mouth.

Need a dentist for you or your whole family? Get in touch with Dental Choice today to arrange an appointment at a nearby practice location.




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