The Different Types of Human Teeth & Their Functions

Brunette woman wearing a striped shirt smiles with her teeth showing and her eyes closed and touches her cheeks

Most of our patients understand the benefits of a good at-home oral hygiene routine as well as the importance of a healthy diet low in sugar and high in nutritious foods. While our patients know how to care for their oral health, not everyone knows the different kinds of teeth and the individual functions they perform. So our team at Three Creek Dentistry has put together the following information to help you get to know your mouth a little better!

8 Incisors

Your 4 front teeth on both your upper and lower jaw are called the central and lateral incisors. In fact, incisors are usually the first baby teeth that emerge through the gums and the first to fall out. Incisors have a sharp edge designed to cut food. Without incisors, it would be difficult to bite into and enjoy many tooth-healthy foods like carrots, apples, and sandwiches!

4 Canines (Cuspids)

The typical human mouth has 4 canine teeth, on either side of the upper and lower incisors. Canines are effectively the corners of the mouth and perform the function of ripping and tearing food. Canines have the longest root of any tooth and come to a single, pointy cusp.

8 Premolars (Bicuspids)

These teeth perform the important function of crushing food as we chew. We have 8 premolars – two in each quadrant of our mouth. First premolars have 2 roots, while the second premolars have just 1. Unlike incisors and canines, there are no premolar baby teeth.

8-12 Molars

Molars are the teeth furthest back in our mouth. Their broad, flat surfaces help grind food as we eat. You could have anywhere from 8-12 molars, with 2-3 in each quadrant of the mouth. This is because not everyone develops 4 wisdom teeth, otherwise known as third molars, or some people have only 1-3, or they have to be removed.

Ask Us for Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy!

Now that you know a little more about what makes up your smile, we hope this knowledge inspires you to continue to practice good oral hygiene. We are here to help you maintain and perfect your smile. To ask our team any questions about how to have outstanding oral health or to schedule your next visit to our office, contact us today.


Three Creek Dentistry