Types of Teeth and Their Functions

Types of TeethTeeth have an important role in many of our physical functions such as chewing, digesting and even talking. But, most of us don’t follow proper dental care until something wrong happens. You should take care of your teeth properly as it affects your overall oral health. As a first step toward giving your teeth attention that they deserve, you should know some basic things about teeth such as the types and their functions.

The parts of a tooth

A tooth contains mainly two parts. They are:

  • Crown: The visible white part of the tooth
  • Root: The invisible part of the tooth

The main four parts of a tooth include:

Enamel: Enamel, which is the visible substance that covers the tooth crown, protects the tooth from decay. It is harder than bone.

Dentin: Dentin, which is calcified and looks similar to bone, is found underneath the enamel.

Cementum: This tissue that helps anchor the tooth by covering the tooth root. Cementum is softer than dentin and enamel.

Pulp: Pulp is found at the centre of the tooth. It contains nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues that supply nutrients and signals to the teeth.

Types of teeth

The five types of teeth with different shape and functions are the following.

Incisors: The eight teeth in the front and centre of your mouth (four on top and four on bottom) are called incisors. They help bite your food. Incisors are the first set of teeth to erupt usually at the age of 6 months. The adult set of incisors appears during the age of 6 to 8 years.

Canines: Canines, the sharpest teeth, are used for tearing and ripping food apart. These teeth appear after the incisors are developed. Primary canines normally develop between 16 and 20 months of age. The upper canines come in just ahead of lower canines. But the permanent set of canines takes a reverse order to develop. Lower canines come at around the age of 9 years and the upper canines arrive at the age between 11 and 12 years.

Premolars: People normally have four premolars (bicuspids) on each side of the mouth, two on the lower jaw and two on the upper jaw. Chewing and grinding food is their role. The first premolars arrive when the people are around 10 years old and the second set comes about after a year.

Molars: Primary molars, which are also used for grinding and chewing food, appear between the age of 12 and 15 months. Four upper molars and four lower molars, which are permanent, can replace the molar teeth. The first molar comes around the age of 6 years and the permanent molars come in between the age of 11 and 13 months years.

Third molars: Third molars, which are also called as wisdom teeth, develop last. They do not commonly develop until 18 to 20 years old and it will never appear in some people. For such people, the molars may cause crowding and should be removed.

Don’t be careless about your oral health. To maintain dental hygiene, brush and floss your teeth regularly and avoid smoking. People should follow a healthy diet and have a regular visit to their dentist for dental checkups and cleaning.