Your teeth are an integral part of our bodies but do you know the teeth’ names and their function?
All of them are made from the same proteins and minerals like calcium and collagen but have different functions.
They assist you in speaking, eating, chewing, biting and smiling to your heart’s content.
This article discusses the teeth names and their function in your mouth.
Keep reading to know how you can make good use of them in chewing, grinding and tearing food.
Teeth Names and Eruption Order
A human has 20 baby teeth and 32 permanent adult teeth.
The roots of the primary teeth start dying after the age of 6 till you are 12 years old.
Usually, by 13 years of age, you have all permanent teeth except for wisdom teeth.
They appear later in life, usually around 17 to 21 years of age.
However, these four are usually removed by a wisdom tooth removal procedure because they result in crowding.
An infant begins teething between 4 to 7 months.
Facing teething symptoms like irritability, fussiness, gnawing and biting.
Soon, there will be a new tooth emerging from the gums.
The first ones are two front teeth i.e. the central incisors.
The lower teeth come before the upper ones. Overall 4 central incisors erupt between 6 to 9 months.
Next, there are 4 lateral incisors right beside incisors that come between 9 to 16 months.
Following that in position are the canines.
These pointed teeth come around 16 to 23 months.
Afterward, the first and second molar come around 13 to 18 and 23 to 33 months respectively.
Hence, there are 10 baby teeth:
- 8 incisors
- 4 canines
- 8 molars
On the other hand, adult ones have:
- 8 incisors,
- 8 premolars
- 12 molars -(4 third molars-wisdom teeth)
- 4 canines
By the time you are 3, you have all baby teeth and by the time you are 14, you have all adult teeth.
The roots of the milk teeth keep dying from 6 years of age to 12.
The first permanent ones to erupt from the gum are the first molars.
Though, the first ones to fall out are the lower central incisors.
There are no baby teeth versions for wisdom teeth.
Third molars erupt when you are over 20.
Besides naming, teeth are also given numbers.
How to Number Teeth?
The Palmer notation helps in numbering teeth.
It is a dental notation that is still in popular use to identify the quadrant inside the mouth.
It explains if this quadrant is lower, up, right or left.
Dentists use the patient’s left and right to call out a tooth, not their own.
The central incisors are numbered 1, the lateral incisors 2, canines 3, 1st and 2nd premolars 4 and 5, 1st, 2nd and 3rd molars, 6, 7 and 8.
Hence, if your dentist wants to talk about the 1st premolar at the upper right side they will call it upper right 4 or simply UR4.
Besides the Palmer notation, there is the ISO system.
It is also a very common system in the use of dentists.
It simply uses two-digit numbering.
The first indicates the position of the tooth, like upper right, lower left.
They are as follows:
- 1 indicates upper right
- 2 indicates upper left
- 3 indicates lower left
- 4 indicates lower right
The second digit represents the order of the tooth.
- Incisors are 1 and 2
- canines are 3
- premolars are 4 and 5
- molars are 6, 7 and 8
Hence, teeth in the upper right side of the mouth will be, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
While those in the upper left will be 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.
A popular numbering system in America is the Universal Numbering System.
It is a simple numbering of 1 to 32 for all the teeth in your mouth starting from the upper right wisdom tooth.
The upper right third molar is numbered 1.
Moving left till the central incisor the numbering goes from 1 to 8.
It continues to 9 to 16 for the upper left third molar.
Then it proceeds from 17 to 32 from the lower left third molar to the lower right third molar respectively.
Teeth Names and Function
Baby teeth have incisors, canines and molars whereas adult teeth have incisors, canines, premolars and molars.
There are different types of teeth including:
- two types of incisors (central and lateral)
- two types of premolars (1st and 2nd)
- three types of molars (1st, 2nd and 3rd).
Now that you know teeth names, let us enlighten you with their specific purpose.
Your flat front teeth in the top and bottom are incisors.
While they look flat, they are actually quite sharp.
They have thin, sharp edges that assist you to bite into food and cut it.
Their shape resembles that of small chisels, though their function is also sharp.
Whenever you bite into food then you use incisors to cut it, for e.g. eating an apple.
There are 8 incisors in your mouth that sink your teeth into food and cut it down.
Four in the upper and four in the lower part consisting of 2 central and lateral incisors each.
These are the first teeth to erupt, usually the lower central incisors.
Their permanent counterpart also erupts early between 6 to 8 years of age.
They are also known as anterior teeth.
The sharp, pointy teeth that you see on vampires are canines as they look similar to fangs.
While vampires may not be real, the sharpness of canines is very real.
Because of their sharpness and pointy surface, they perform their function of tearing food apart.
The other names of canines are cuspids and eye teeth.
Believe it or not, these are the longest of all of your teeth, even if they look kind of the same length as others.
You will have four canines in total right next to the lateral incisors.
They erupt around 16 – 20 months.
They come permanently around 9 and 12 years in lower and upper positions.
Children do not have premolars in their baby teeth.
They first appear in the adult set of teeth when you are 10 to 12 years of age.
However, premolars come in place of baby molars.
Premolars are a total of eight in number, four each in the upper teeth and lower teeth right beside the canines.
They are known as the 1st and 2nd premolars, and also as bicuspids.
They have a larger surface area than incisors and canines.
Premolars even look bigger than both the incisors and canines.
Hence, when they erupt, they do not slice through the gum as easily as the straight incisors and canines.
While their surfaces are flat, they also have ridges.
This helps to crush and grind your food into smaller pieces to assist in swallowing.
Hence, incisors help you bit into food, canines help to tear it down and premolars help in crushing food and grinding it.
Right next to premolars are molars.
You have 12 of them in your mouth, the first, second and third molars.
There are two of each in the upper and lower jaw.
The first and second are also known as the 6 year and 12-year molars representing the age when they erupt.
The permanent first molars are usually one of the first permanent teeth to erupt.
They are the strongest teeth in your mouth with the biggest surface area.
They help to chew and grind food.
Your tongue usually pushes food at the back of your mouth to the molars to chew thoroughly.
They break down food into small parts, making it easier to swallow.
Though this function is usually performed by the first and second molars.
The third molars are the wisdom teeth.
They erupt late in life and if there is an impacted wisdom tooth, you can get it removed.
They do not hold as much significance and do not assist in chewing and grinding.
Therefore, you can remove them if they do not erupt through the gum properly.
In fact, if they are impacted (such as coming only halfway or in the wrong position), then they can cause more problems in your mouth.
This can lead to infections, pain and bacteria accumulation.
Hence, it is better to remove them.
When wisdom teeth start erupting, then they will also cause significant pain in your mouth.
You can choose to remove your third molars even if you do not want pain.
Moreover, they can lead to crowding.
They can shift the order of teeth if you previously had dental braces.
They do not serve any purpose and are also hard to clean.
Hence, if you wish to remove them, it will not affect the functionality of your teeth.
Caring For Your Oral Health
It is essential that you look after all of your teeth.
Usually, the ones at the back (the premolars and molars), get ignored because they are hard to reach.
However, they still come in contact with food and drinks, therefore they can accumulate bacteria.
It is equally important to clean them as it is to clean the rest.
Remember to brush in the ridges as well as the flat surfaces.
Floss between all your teeth, even those at the back.
If you find it hard to reach the molars, then choose an electric toothbrush that cleans plaque thoroughly.
Brushing and flossing teeth are essential that you cannot skip.
Moreover, you need to abide by a routine, brush twice daily and floss once a day.
It helps to keep the bacteria at bay and provides you with a cleaner mouth.
If your child skips a few teeth while brushing, use this guide to explain to them about individual teeth names and their function.
This way they will know that every tooth in their mouth is important and they should clean all of them regularly.
So, give them a lecture over oral hygiene, explaining the function of each tooth and their names for them to take special care of their mouth health.