Can you name your teeth? We use them to chew. They play a huge part in creating the shape of your mouth and your entire face. Others see them when you smile which helps you make first impressions when you meet new people.
Yet many people don’t know which tooth is a bicuspid and which is a molar. When we’re experiencing a toothache and Dr. Marra asks, ‘which tooth is bothering you?’, many of us will simply point and say, “that one!” as if we’re pointing out someone in a police lineup of the usual suspects. So let’s get to know our pearly whites a little better!
People have two sets of teeth in our lifetime: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. The primary teeth are more often known as the “baby teeth” because they begin growing in when we are only about six months old and are usually all in place by the time we reach three years of age. The secondary teeth, more commonly known as the “adult teeth”, begin growing in as the we lose primary teeth. This process usually begins at around age six and is over by age twelve or thirteen.
The average grown person usually has 32 secondary teeth but they are not all the same. Your teeth could be likened to the players on your favorite sports team: each plays their own position, based on size, shape and ability but they work as a team.
The Types of Teeth
- Incisors- These eight teeth are in the very front of your mouth. There are four incisors on the bottom and four on top. They are primarily used for biting off pieces of food.
- Canines- Canine teeth are named after the fangs of a dog (scientific name canine) due to their sharp, pointed appearance. Humans have four canines, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors. These teeth are used to rip and tear food.
- Bicuspids- Bicuspids, also known as premolars, are used for chewing and grinding foods. We have four of these teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.
- Molars- Your flat-topped molars, also used for chewing and grinding, grow at rear of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom, two on each side. These teeth are commonly susceptible to tooth decay due the fact that they are used constantly but can be difficult to clean as thoroughly. Most people also grow third molars, more commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” due to their late arrival ( your late teens to early twenties). Four third molars will usually grow, one each side, top and bottom.
Now that you know you the ‘players’ on your ‘team’ a little better, you will be better able to communicate with Dr. Marra when you may be having a problem. For example, if you have pain in the top rear of your mouth when you try to chew, you may have an issue with one of your top molars. Hopefully, you now appreciate the important roles your teeth play in chewing on your food. There’s an old adage that says that a team is only as strong as its’ weakest player. This is why scheduling regular cleanings and exams with Dr. Marra in Cohoes NY is so important. To schedule call 518.650.1930 or request an appointment online.