Blog |3 min read

The 4 Types of Teeth and How They Function

You know your teeth are important and that you have to take good care of them, but have you ever researched about their development, types, parts or their function? The truth is that they play a vital role in your ability to eat, speak and they have an enormous impact on your overall health.

Let’s broaden our knowledge about our precious white pearls.

The development

We have two sets of teeth, primary or baby teeth, and permanent or adult teeth. The development or odontogenesis of these sets of teeth is similar. This complex process begins long before your first tooth becomes visible. Actually, a baby’s first teeth formation starts during the second trimester of pregnancy.

There are 20 primary teeth in our mouth and they are in place until 2,5 and 3 years. Between the ages of 6 and 12, they begin to fall down and new permanent set of teeth start to grow. Most adults have 32 permanent teeth.

During the formation of a tooth, the crown is the first to be formed, whereas roots continue their development after a tooth has erupted.

The parts of the tooth

A tooth has two main parts: the crown and the root. Every tooth has 4 different tissues which have different functions. The first one is enamel and it’s the hardest and the most highly mineralized substance in our body and it’s the most visible part of the tooth. Enamel consists of hydroxyapatite, phosphorous, and calcium. Underneath the enamel, there is dentin which is harder than a bone but softer than enamel. The third tissue is called cementum and it’s softer than enamel and dentin. In order to protect it, it’s important to take good oral care. The last one is the pulp, located at the center and core of a tooth. It contains blood vessels and nerves and other soft tissues.

Types of teeth

There are different types of teeth in our mouth and they all have a slightly different shape and function. Types of teeth are:

Incisors are the ones you bite food with. There are 8 incisors in our mouth, 4 on top and 4 on the bottom. They are usually the first ones that erupt.

Canines or fangs are our sharpest teeth and their function is to rip and tear food apart. Primary canine teeth appear between 16 and 20 months.

Premolars (bicuspids) are used for chewing and grinding food. There are no primary premolars, so the first ones appear around the age of 10 and second ones a year later. Adults have 4 premolars on each side of the mouth.

Molars, same as premolars are used for chewing and grinding of food. Deciduous molars or primary molars are replaced by first and second premolars.

Third molars or wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop, around the age 18-20. There are instances where people don’t develop third molars at all. If there is a partial eruption, they are said to be impacted and are commonly extracted.

The importance of your oral health should be one of your 2019 priorities. Don’t forget brushing and flossing is crucial, eating healthy foods and regular dental cleanings and checkups. Call the North Pointe Dental Associates at (813) 961-1727 and schedule your appointment.

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