From Molars to Wisdom Teeth: Understanding the Types of Teeth in Your Mouth

March 15, 2022

Believe it or not, your teeth and your mouth play a huge role in your overall health, ability to speak, and of course, your ability to eat. There are several main types of teeth, each with a unique job and shape.

Taking care of your teeth can require a basic knowledge of your teeth and what they do, so get a quick refresher on oral care as well.

Tooth Types

Your teeth help you chew, preparing food for digestion. As mentioned, each one has a unique shape and job.

Many of us take our teeth for granted until something goes wrong. Here is a closer look at the types of teeth in your mouth and what they do.


These teeth are the eight found in the front of your mouth. There are four at the bottom and four at the top. These are the teeth you use for biting your food. They are usually the first to break through at around six months of age when they are baby teeth. Your adult set will come in between six to eight years of age.

Canine Teeth

Your four fangs or canine teeth are the next to come in. These are your sharpest teeth and are useful for tearing food and ripping it apart. These baby teeth generally come in between 16 and 20 months of age. Your upper canines tend to come in before your lower canines for baby teeth. When your permanent canines come in, the lower teeth are first generally. They come in at around nine years old, with the upper canines coming at around 11 or 12.

Premolar Teeth

Your bicuspids or premolars are useful for grinding or chewing food. Adults tend to have four premolars on each side of their mouth. Two are in the lower jaw, and two are in the upper jaw. There are no ‘baby’ premolars, with the first appearing at about 10 years and the next coming about a year later. They take over the first and second primary molars.


Your molars are generally the workhorses of your mouth. These are useful for grinding and chewing food. Primary or deciduous molars come between 12 to 28 months of age and are replaced by the four lower and upper premolars discussed above.

Permanent molars, four lower and four uppers, don’t replace any primary teeth but come in further behind in the jaw. The first will come in at about six years old, with the second molars coming in from 11 to 13.

Third Molars

These teeth are generally called your wisdom teeth. These are the last teeth to come through and don’t usually show up until you are about 18 to 20 years old. Some people will never experience wisdom teeth coming through. These teeth often cause crowding and need to be removed. In addition, many people experience these teeth not fully erupting and becoming impacted, therefore needing removal from Dr. Dhiraj Sharma.

Facts About Tooth Development

Your tooth development starts long before the first tooth appears. A baby’s first tooth shows up around six months, but that tooth has started developing in the early stages of the second trimester in pregnancy.

Crowns develop first while roots continue to form long after the tooth has broken through the gum line. This is called the tooth erupting.

Teeth tend to come through in symmetrical manners. This means your left molar will come through about the same time your right molar starts to do so.

Your adult teeth start to grow between the ages of six and 12. Most adults have 32 teeth that are considered permanent.

Between two and three years of age, 20 primary teeth come in. From six to 12, we begin to lose these and get what we call our permanent teeth.

The Tooth Parts

Every tooth has two main portions. These are the root and the crown. The root is the part that extends below your gum line, anchoring your tooth to the bone. The crown is the white part of your tooth that you can see. There are four kinds of tissue in your tooth, each with a unique job.

The enamel is the visible part of the tooth that covers the crown. It is harder than bone and protects your tooth. Enamel is made up of calcium, phosphorous, and hydroxyapatite.

Your tooth also has dentin, which is underneath the enamel. This is calcified and very much like bone. It is not as hard as enamel, so it is more likely to decay should enamel wear off.

After this layer, there is the cementum, which covers the root and further anchors the tooth to the bone. This tissue is softer than both dentin and enamel. It is yellow and can become exposed when the gums shrink from disease and inadequate care. For best protection against the decay of this tissue, take care of your gums.

Your final tissue layer is the pulp, and it is in the core of your tooth, at the very center. This is where you will find the soft tissues, including blood vessels and nerves, that bring nutrients to your teeth.

A Refresher on Proper Dental Care

Taking excellent care of your teeth will go a long way in maintaining your overall health. Brushing your teeth a minimum of two times a day and flossing is a start in the right direction. Making sure to replace your toothbrushes regularly and using a quality mouthwash will also help minimize the bacteria in your mouth. In addition, make sure you visit the best dentist in Lincoln Park regularly for cleaning and maintenance.


Your mouth is an important part of your health, with your teeth being key players. Having a better understanding of the function of each tooth can give you a better appreciation of its roles and importance. To maintain the best overall health, you need to take good care of your teeth. Do not smoke, brush and floss twice a day, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.


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