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Monday, December 19, 2016
Did you know that there are different types of teeth in the mouth? Here are the four types that are designed to perform different functions:
Incisors: These are the four middle top and four middle bottom teeth. They are used for cutting food.
Canines: These are the teeth that are pointy-shaped. There are two among the top teeth and two on the bottom. They are used for grasping food in the mouth and tearing it.
Premolars: The premolar teeth (also called bicuspids) are right next to the canines. There are four on top and four on the bottom. These teeth have small points called cusps that help tear and crush food.
Molars: These are the teeth in the back of the mouth. There are six teeth on the top and six on the bottom. The first molars appear when a child is 6 to 7 years old. The second molars appear at 12-13 years old. The third molars, also called the wisdom teeth, appear around 17 to 21 years of age. These teeth also have small points or cusps and are used for crushing and grinding up food.
Here are some other parts of the mouth and teeth:
Gums: This is the flesh surrounding the teeth. Without good dental care, the gums can become swollen. This is called gingivitis.
Gumline: This is the line between the teeth and the gums. When brushing your teeth, not only should you brush the tooth surfaces but also the gum line because food and plaque can become trapped here.
Enamel: This is the outer layer of the teeth. It is hard and made up of minerals. Without proper dental hygiene and health, this layer can break down causing caries or cavities.
Dentin: This is the layer of the teeth that is underneath the enamel layer. If the enamel layer is broken down by cavities, then the dentin layer is affected next. It can also break down and rot away.
Pulp: Underneath the dentin layer, is the pulp. This is where all the nerves and blood vessels in the teeth are found. If the enamel and dentin layer are affected by decay and cavities, then the pulp layer can then be affected. This can be extremely painful and expensive to fix.
Last Reviewed: Nov 10, 2015
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University