The primary function of our teeth is to help us chew our food so our body can digest it properly. They also play a large role in how we speak, drink, and can even be indicators of potential health problems in other areas of our body. Let’s go over the anatomy of teeth and the function of each.
Four Tooth Types and Their Functions
- Incisors: You have eight incisors total, four on top and four on the bottom. Incisors help you to bite and break food. Your temporary incisors are usually developed by six to seven months old. When these fall out during childhood, the permanent incisors grow in their place. Incisors help you bite and break food.
- Canines: Your canines are located next to the lateral incisors. Canines allow you to tear up your food. You have four canine teeth, two on top and two on the bottom. They generally develop around 16 months of age. After they fall out around 9 years old, the permanent canines come in behind them.
- Premolars: The temporary premolars are fully developed around 11 years of age. There are four premolars on each side of the canines. Premolars help to chew and crush food.
- Molars: Your permanent molars come in once your premolars fall out. Like the premolars, they help you to chew and crush food. However, the permanent molars are stronger than the premolars and they help to assist your tongue with swallowing food.
Some people develop a fifth type of tooth, called a third molar. Third molars are rare, but if a person does develop them it tends to happen around 18 years of age. Third molars can cause pain and overcrowding, so it is not uncommon to have them removed if/when they do develop.
Gross Anatomy of Teeth
The anatomy of the tooth includes the crown, the neck, and the root. The crown is the area of the tooth that is visible above the gum line. The neck is the area of the tooth that is on the gum line. The root is the region of the tooth that is below the gum line.
Inside the tooth is a “live tissue” called dentine. This tissue contains tiny tubules throughout the structure. These tubules connect with the central nerve of your tooth within the pulp. The dentine of the root, below the gum line, is covered with a hard bone-like substance called cementum. The central chamber of the tooth contains what is called “pulp”. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves, and small lymph vessels.
Tips for Strong and Healthy Teeth
Brush at least twice daily, and floss at least once daily. Replace your toothbrush every 6 months. Limit consumption of sugary foods and acidic foods. Schedule a cleaning with a dentist at North View Dental every six months. Their friendly staff is available to help, should you need to call with questions or schedule an appointment. North View Dental only hires the best dentists, so you can rest assured you will receive the care you need here.