Types of Teeth

Did you know that we have several different types of teeth? Although each tooth type has a specific function, they all develop in the same way. We start out with about 20 primary teeth and grow to have 32 adult (permanent) teeth.

Tooth development starts much earlier than you think, during the second trimester of pregnancy! Teeth begin to break through the gum line by 6 months of age and the roots continue to grow for months after. Interestingly, while our teeth types develop at different stages, they grow in parallel – meaning that your left molars come in as your right do!

Types and Function:
Now we move on to the types of teeth. Each play a different role in the way we consume and digest food:

Incisors:
These 8 teeth are located in the front of your mouth, four on top and four on bottom. Incisors are typically the first primary teeth that appear at the age of 6 months. These teeth help you chew your food and are vital to speech and pronunciation.

Canines:
These four teeth either side of your incisors usually develop after incisors, around 16-20 months of age. The primary function is to help you tear into your food. Canines also keep your teeth in line when your jaws meet and close together.

Premolars:
As humans, we have 8 premolars. These teeth grow in directly behind the canines at about the age of 10, four on top and four on bottom. Otherwise called bicuspids, premolars have a unique flat surface which provide additional support when chewing food.

Molars:
Before we grow our 12 permanent molars, 8 primary molars come in at about 12-15 months of age. Before the primary molars fall out, your permanent molars grow in behind them. Around the age of 6, you develop your first set of permanent molars. The second set of permanent molars appear around 12 years old. Molars are the largest teeth and have a flat surface, made to grind through food.

As a side note, your third-year molars (wisdom teeth) may come in starting at the age of 18. Wisdom teeth are the molars farthest back in your mouth. In some cases, wisdom teeth may not even grow in at all. If you feel any wisdom teeth discomfort, Premier Dental Associates of Lower Manhattan (in the FIDI) is happy to evaluate their development.

At Premier Dental Associates of Lower Manhattan (FIDI) we will help every step of the way during teeth development. Make sure to visit us twice a year for general checkups and do not hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing any dental pain. Ready, set, smile! (With your different types of teeth of course!)