Different Types of Teeth and Their Functions


Teeth are an undeniable part of our daily lives, crucial to what makes us who we are. 

Not only do healthy teeth constitute a beautiful smile that boosts our confidence, but teeth are also designed to grind and chew food for nourishment. As well as assist us in communication, ensuring we speak properly. 

The average adult carries between 28 and 32 teeth in their smile, dependent on the status of their wisdom teeth. However, not all teeth are alike. Each tooth is designed to fulfill a particular role within the smile and can be categorized as one of the four different types of teeth with it’s own unique purpose.                             

The Four Types of Teeth

Teeth can be distinguished from one another, and all of them fall into one of the four following categories:

  • Canines: Having two located on each the top and bottom rows behind the corners of the mouth, these teeth possess long roots and pointed ends. 
  • Incisors: These teeth constitute the front row of the smile, and are usually the first ones to erupt during our development.
  • Bicuspids: Frequently referred to as premolars, these teeth lay behind the canines and are flatter than both the canines and incisors. 
  • Molars: Located towards the far reaches of the smile these teeth are flat and wide, maintaining the largest amount of upper surface area of any type of tooth.

The Canines

Designed to productively chew food and assist our speaking, the function that canines provide is absolutely essential. Canines work symbiotically with your incisors, and without their presence, it would be difficult to bite into crusty loaves of bread or rip apart tougher textures such as cooked meats.

The Incisors

Similar to canines, incisors cut into food with supreme precision. This can be indicated when eating a sandwich; where it is common to observe a patterned arc of tooth prints where your last bite took place.

The Bicuspids

Unlike the sheer forceful bites practiced by incisors and canines, bicuspids are designed to slowly but surely crush food through the chewing process. Allowing us to further break down food into more manageable and smaller pieces for our digestive tract.

The Molars

Similar to bicuspids, molars are anchored into the jawbone, which allows them to handle the force of further chewing and breaking both soft and hard substances. 

Losing A Tooth 

The four types of teeth develop to perfectly complement each other, ensuring our oral anatomy can operate at its most efficient capacity. In the unfortunate event where you may lose or damage a tooth or need to have one extracted for health concerns, a dental professional may recommend you consider a replacement (except in the case of wisdom teeth extraction, of course).

Thanks to modern advancements in the world of dentistry over the past decades, there are a plethora of options to restore one or more missing teeth. Some non-surgical options include traditional removable dentures, dental bridges, or crowns. 

There are also more permanent solutions to replace missing teeth. Depending on the state of your oral health and jawbone density, your dentist may recommend dental implants to restore the look and feel of your smile.

Maintaining your Teeth

It cannot be stressed enough how crucial every tooth is to our oral function. Therefore, you should commit to building and maintaining an acceptable oral care routine through the guidance of your dentist. To further ensure your teeth and gums are staying on the right track, it’s recommended to commit to dental visits twice a year. 

Always contact a dental professional if you notice any changes or discomfort in your smile. 

Recent Stories