Know Your Smile: Teeth and Their Function

adult tooth eruption charteveryone has four different types of teeth.
each tooth has a unique name and a different purpose.


let’s be honest. most of us take our teeth for granted … until something goes wrong. our teeth help us chew and digest food, they play an important role in speech, and they impact our overall health. by brushing up on your dental health knowledge, you’ll be taking a step toward giving your teeth the attention they deserve. how much do you know about your pearly whites?

the adult mouth contains 32 permanent teeth, consisting of the following teeth types:

  • 4 lateral incisors
  • 4 central incisors
  • 4 canines (also called cuspids or eye teeth)
  • 4 first premolars (also called first bicuspids
  • 4 second premolars (also called second bicuspids)
  • 4 first molars (also called 6-year molars)
  • 4 second molars (also called 12-year molars)
  • 4 third molars (also called wisdom teeth)


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your teeth help you chew your food, making it easier to digest. each type of tooth has a slightly different shape and performs a different job.

incisors are the eight teeth in the front and center of your mouth. these are used to take bites of your food. they cut (or incise) food with their thin edges, and are usually the first to erupt.

canines are the next type of teeth to develop. they are your sharpest teeth and are used for holding, grasping, and tearing food apart. sometimes called cuspids or eye teeth, these are the cornerstone of the mouth.

premolars, or bicuspicds, are used for chewing and grinding food.

molars are used for grinding food. some people never develop third molars.

the design of your mouth and it’s teeth is ingenious. your mouth is important! so don’t take your oral health for granted. brush and floss your teeth regularly, eat a healthy diet, and see your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and checkups. a healthy mouth = a healthy body…and a nice smile.

visit our website to read future “know your smile” dental facts!


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