Let's turn on your imagination to compare your mouth to an athletic playing field. Look at your teeth as the players. Just like the athletes on a sports team, the teeth have different positions and roles. By working together as a team, the teeth achieve the main goal, which is to feed you, as well as secondary goals, such as aiding in speech.
Dental professionals use a system called dental notation to identify your teeth and keep records of them. For example, you might complain to the doctor of tooth pain “on the upper jaw, on the left, in the back” – but when the dentist finds the problem, he or she will note that it is a maxillary second molar, or your number 15 tooth. There are several differing systems of dental notation; the Universal Numbering System is the one most commonly used in the United States.
Now, without further ado, let’s introduce The Tooth Team!
What Are the Main Types of Teeth?
Adults have four types of teeth: incisors, cuspids, premolars, and molars. The usual number of permanent teeth for a healthy adult is 32. Baby teeth, numbering only 20, include only the incisors, canines and molars.
Incisors: The Cutting Edge The eight teeth at the front of your mouth – four on top, four on the bottom – are the incisors. Incisors work to slice your food into pieces that are more chewable and “bite-sized.” These teeth are further classified into central incisors (the front two teeth, on both top and bottom jaws) and lateral incisors (the four teeth that are to the sides of the central incisors). In addition to their role in biting food, incisors aid in sound formation and word pronunciation when you speak. They also form the most prominent portion of your smile; cosmetic smile work is commonly focused on incisors. Additionally, because of their forward position, incisors are among the most frequently damaged teeth due to sports or accidents.
Cuspids: Helping You to Get a Grip The four fang-like teeth next to the lateral incisors are the cuspids, also called canines. (The upper two cuspids are sometimes known as “eye teeth.”) The sharp points (or cusps) on these teeth work to clamp down and grip food, helping you to tear it into pieces. Additionally, the shape and position of the cuspids play an important role in guiding the upper and lower teeth together into proper relative position when the jaws come together. Such alignment helps to guide both food and teeth into optimum chewing position.
Premolars: Crushing It Regularly The eight teeth (four top, four bottom) adjacent to the cuspids are the premolars. These teeth, also known as bicuspids (because they have two points), work hard to crush your food in preparation for ingestion. They’re also important contributors to the outward appearance of your facial structure.
Usual Tooth Situation
A dentist with enough years of experience will likely encounter odd situations in some patients’ dentition. Abnormal tooth development or familial traits may exhibit in a phenomenon called supernumerary teeth; these are extra teeth (more than the usual 32) that are present in a patient’s mouth. An extra incisor, called a mesiodens, is not uncommon; a dentist may also sometimes see an extra molar (called a paramolar or a distomolar, depending on its position in the mouth) or even extra canine teeth. For such situations, the doctor will determine the best course of action (if any) on a case-by-case basis.
Contact Us Today to Set Up Your Appointment!
We accept most insurance plans. Our friendly staff is ready to answer any questions and to check your insurance coverage to resolve any issues. To save time on your dental visit, you can conveniently fill out patient paperwork ahead of time by using the links on our website. Because your dental health shouldn’t have to wait, Dentures Plus Lenexa partners with CareCredit and Wells Fargo Health Advantage® to offer our patients financing options. Contact information for financing can be accessed via our website .
Dentures Plus Lenexa looks forward to servicing your dental, denture, and implant needs! Whether you’re a new resident in Johnson County, seeking to get a dental problem fixed, or an existing patient who is experiencing an issue with dentures or implants, we’re here to help. Please stop into our office at 8630 Maurer Road in Lenexa or call us today at 913-227-0466. At Dentures Plus Lenexa, your health comes first – period. For the best dental, denture, and implant service in the Kansas City area, contact us today!