What Is Each Tooth Used For?

The full-grown adult mouth has 32 teeth, all of which have their own unique, specific purposes in the mouth. Though they all work together in unison to chew your food, each tooth plays an individual role in the grand scheme of things. Here’s a list of your teeth, and how each one helps your other teeth do their jobs.

The Incisors

The incisors are the eight foremost teeth in your mouth, including the fabled “two front teeth.” These teeth are usually the most visible when you smile or speak, and thanks to their shape are best used for cutting into food. The incisors consist of the central incisors and the lateral incisors, of which you have four – two of each on the top jaw and two of each on the bottom.

The Canines

Canine teeth get their name because of their similar appearance to the sharp teeth of dogs. There are a total of four canine teeth in the adult mouth – two on the upper jaw and two on the lower. The canine teeth flank the incisors on either side. Canine teeth are used for tearing food apart.

The Premolars

There are a total of eight premolars – four “first premolars” and four “second premolars,” which sit next in line to the canine teeth. The premolars are the flat teeth with points called cuspids. Because each premolar has two cuspids, they are also known as bicuspids. Because of their dual shape, bicuspids serve a dual purpose: to both tear and crush food.

The Molars

The teeth located at the very back of your mouth, the molars are your grinding teeth. There are a total of 12 molars in the adult mouth – the first, second and third molars, of which we have two on each jaw bone. The molars are used for grinding and chewing food.

To learn more about your teeth, contact Dr. Lesko at 970-221-5115.

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