Humans are omnivorous animals. Our body is designed to chew and digest all forms of food ranging from meat to plant products. Also, our teeth are meant to devour everything. Hence, it is not odd that you find teeth of different shapes and sizes in your mouth. There are four main types of teeth that you can easily spot in your mouth.
Front four teeth are the incisors, followed by a canine on either side of the incisors. These constitute the anterior or front teeth.
Proceeding further behind you spot two pairs of premolars and three pairs of molars on each side. These are the posterior or back teeth. In babies, however, premolars are absent, and there are only two pairs of molars.
This same count goes for your lower jaw as well. Hence there are 32 permanent teeth and 20 milk teeth. Other than these four typical teeth types you may spot a few extra teeth sometimes. These are called supernumerary teeth.
If a child is born with teeth in his mouth, these teeth are neonatal or natal teeth. Natal teeth are a rare find. All these teeth have different shapes and sizes. Thus, they have various functions in your mouth. Let’s review each type in details.
- Also read: Are teeth bones? What are Teeth Made of?
The four main types of teeth
There are four pairs of incisors in your mouth. 2 pairs of central incisors and two pairs of lateral incisors erupt on both the jaws. These are the first teeth to appear in the mouth. The first incisor to erupt in your mouth is the lower central incisors.
The lateral incisors erupt beside the central incisors on either side. They look the same as the centrals with flat faces and flat edges just smaller in size.
Incisors have flat edges. Hence, you use them for cutting and biting. Also, incisors are the teeth that are most visible when we smile.
Canines are the cornerstone of our facial appearance. They are the four teeth at the four front corners of your mouth. They erupt just next to the lateral incisors, one on each side of both the jaws.
These canines are massively prominent in carnivorous animals. Hence, you use them for tearing meat and other hard food substances.
The bony eminences just below the canines are the canine eminences. Canine eminences give you the facial structure that you have.
Premolars are a total 8 eight in number. They are present only your permanent teeth set. You can see two premolars each on either side of canines on both the jaws.
Premolars have two sharp peaks also called cusps. Hence dentists also call them bicuspids. These help in tearing as well as grinding food.
They are a part of your posterior dentition and have two roots one towards your cheek and another one towards your palate.
In babies, there are only two pairs of molar teeth on each jaw, the 1st, and the 2nd. In adults, the third pair of molar erupts after the age of 17. The molar teeth are broadest in your dental arch. They help in crushing and churning your food.
They have multiple peaks or cusps on them to crush food substances between them. Molars are also susceptible to cavities because food gets stuck on their complex surface. Molars have 2 to 3 roots in both upper and lower jaw.
- Suggested read: Learn Different Parts of Teeth & Tooth Anatomy
Age of eruption of the four different types of teeth
Age of eruption of Incisors
The lower central incisors erupt first when you are only six months old. By the age of 8 months up to the age of 10 months, upper central incisors also erupt in quick succession.
Eventually, you see the lateral incisors erupting by the age of 1 year in babies. Lateral incisors are the two teeth that appear on either side of your central incisors.
Permanent central incisors in the lower jaw erupt at the age of 6 years followed by upper central incisors at the age of 7.
Lateral incisors in both upper and lower jaw erupt simultaneously in both the jaws in babies between 9 to 13 months. The baby teeth fall at the age of 7 years, and all four laterals erupt one after the other between the age of 7 to 9 years. (1)
Age of eruption of Canines
Primary canines erupt in your mouth at the age of 16 to 22 months. Permanent canines erupt at the age of 10 to 12 years.
Age of eruptions of Premolars
Premolars are the first teeth in your mouth that have more than one root. The upper premolars erupt around the age of 10 years, and the 2nd premolar erupts by the age of 12.
For the lower jaw both 1st and 2nd premolar erupt simultaneously between the age of 10 and 11 years. Premolars have no primary predecessors. The premolars replace the primary 1st and 2nd molars. (2)
Age of eruption of Molars
The first molars in babies erupt between the age of 13 to 19 months in both upper and lower jaws. They fall by the age of 7 to 8 years to make way for the first premolars.
The 2nd molars in babies appear around the age of 23 to 25 months in both the jaws. These fall out by the age of 9 years to make way for the 2nd premolars.
The permanent 1st molars erupt at the age of 6 to 7 years on both the jaws. The 2nd permanent molars erupt at the age of 10 to 13 years in the upper jaws and 12 to 13 years in lower jaws.
The third molars better known as wisdom teeth appear after the age of 17 years in most adults. In some cases, the third molars do not erupt at all.
These are congenitally present extra teeth in some cases. If you spot extra teeth anywhere in either of your jaws, most likely it is a supernumerary tooth.
These teeth have no function and dentists extract them without a second thought. If present, they can cause misalignment of teeth.
The supernumerary teeth between premolars are also known as Para premolars, and those between molars are Para molars. If you spot these extra teeth, you should consult a dentist immediately. (3)
Rarely babies are born with one or more teeth already present in their mouth. Dentists refer to them as natal or neonatal teeth.
These in most cases are central or lateral incisors. These teeth are potentially harmless, and dentists do not extract them unless necessary.
There are only four significant teeth types. These are the incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. You can quickly identify them in your mouth. As in the case of babies, premolars are absent. Rest all the teeth look similar in babies as well.
If you have an idea about the appearance and number of roots in your teeth, it is easy to judge if the entire tooth is out when they exfoliate.
Hence, knowing about your dentition helps you as well as your baby during teething. If you see any extra or abnormal tooth, it is better to visit your dentist.