You must have noticed the different types of your teeth when flossing or when looking in the mirror trying to get the stuck guava seed out. But did the thought cross your mind that why do you have different kinds of teeth and what do they do?




Your teeth are not only present to give you a pretty smile, but they are essential for the normal functioning of day-to-day activities. They help you in cutting and chewing even the toughest of your favorite foods, swallowing, digesting, and helping you with speech. Each component of your tooth does a specific job.

Teeth are the hardest substance in your body; they are made from calcium, phosphorus, and protein collagen and contain a large portion of a calcified tissue called dentin. The dentin layer is covered by enamel, the shiny top portion you brush.

Types of Teeth and their Functions

How many teeth are in the human mouth? The four different types of teeth we have are incisors, canines, molars, and premolars. While children have just 20 teeth, called temporary, primary, or milk teeth. Most adults have 32 teeth, called permanent or secondary teeth: Here are the names and alternative terms usually used for different teeth types.

  • 8 Incisors: consist of Central Incisors and Lateral incisors
  • 4 Canines: also called Cuspids
  • 8 Premolars: also called Bicuspids. Contains First Bicuspid and Second Bicuspid 
  • 12 Molars: consist of First Molars, Second Molars, and Third Molars (4 Wisdom Teeth)


Teeth Names



The incisors are the most visible teeth in the human mouth, as they are the group of teeth in the very front. In total, each person has eight incisors: four on the bottom and four on the top jaw.

The most visible teeth in your mouth that come out every time you smile are incisors. These are the eight teeth located on the front of your jaw. Four incisors are present in your upper jaw and four in the lower part.

While you may think that incisors are only linked to aesthetics, they are equally important to any other type of teeth in your mouth.Incisor comes from the Latin word ‘incidere’, which means to cut. Chisel-shaped teeth, incisors have sharp edges, and their main function is to help your bite into food. Whenever you bite into something, take a small bite like a peach, you are using your incisors. Additionally, incisors help hold up the lip and help you pronounce words correctly.

  • The 4 central incisors grow, 2 on the upper and 2 on the lower jaw, and are the first teeth to erupt. The milk teeth become loose, fall out, and adult teeth erupt in place. This process happens between the ages 6-8.
  • Next are the 4 lateral incisors to erupt, one on each side of the top and bottom of the front teeth. Lateral incisors usually start coming out at the age of 7 till 9.



The sharpest of the four types of teeth are canines also called the corner teeth. These pointy teeth erupt on each side of the incisors. The function of canines is to help you rip and tear food. Moreover, when the upper and lower jaws come together, canines help your mouth close in a correct manner. What would happen if there were no canines? Eating hard foods like meat and dense fruits and veggies would be very difficult. Of all the tooth types, canines have the longest root and end with a single pointy cusp.

  • Your 4 canines emerge beside the incisors. The 2 canines are on the top jaw and 2 on the bottom.
  • Canines typically erupt around the age of 9-10 years, and the top canines usually come through after the lower canines. The upper canines come in at age 11 or 12.



The main reason you have premolars is so you can crush and chew food. Sometimes you may also find yourself tearing the food with your bicuspids. Premolars are really tough and can tolerate immense pressure. Their head is a flat surface with ridges that enables you to grind the food into tiny pieces that you can easily swallow. Another important function of premolars is to help maintain the shape of your face. Without premolars, your facial appearance may begin to change.

  • Premolars erupt next to your canines, which means they sit between the molars and canines. Out of your 8 premolars, 4 are located on the lower jaw and four on the upper teeth row.
  • First premolar (upper teeth) come through the age of 10 to 11 years, while the second premolar comes between 10 to 12 years of age.
  • The first bicuspid on the lower teeth erupt at 10-12 years and the second premolar from 11 to 12 years. 



These are the largest and strongest teeth humans have and erupt in the rearmost part of the mouth. With the broadest surface areas, the main function of these buddies is to help you grind and chew food. They are also essential in helping you eat normally.

  • There are twelve molars in the mouth of an adult, 6 on the upper jaw and 6 on the lower teeth row.
  • Out of the 12 molars, 4 are your third molars, also called wisdom teeth, which are the last of the permanent teeth to come in. Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 21.




Not every adult has sufficient space in their mouth for wisdom teeth to erupt properly. Due to this, the wisdom teeth can become impacted, meaning they’re trapped beneath the gums because of a lack of room. Wisdom teeth erupting partially or in an odd position can elevate the chances of infections and also harm the neighboring teeth. Some may experience mild pain when their third molars begin to come through, but for some, the symptoms can turn severe. If you’re experiencing too much discomfort or swelling, see your nearest dentist.

While you wait for an appointment with your dentist, here are some home remedies that can help manage wisdom tooth pain.

A dentist may need to remove wisdom teeth if a person has tooth decay, pain, or an infection. People do not need these teeth for chewing, and they are difficult to keep clean because of their position far back in the mouth.

Your dentist may extract your wisdom teeth if they have an infection, tooth decay, or are extremely painful.

Since molars are exposed to much more jaw pressure than other teeth, it is important to protect them properly by practicing good oral hygiene and wearing a mouthguard at night if grinding teeth while asleep is a problem.

Due to the fact that your molars undergo more jaw pressure than the rest of the teeth, it’s essential to take care of them with a good oral care regime. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard while sleeping to save your teeth from wear and tear.

Summing Up

Teeth are an essential part of our daily lives, and it is important to take care of them. There are 32 permanent teeth in humans, which include incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Wisdom teeth usually come in by around the age of 21. Proper oral hygiene throughout a person’s life can help keep teeth strong and healthy. This means brushing and flossing regularly, as well as visiting the dentist for professional cleanings every six months. By taking these steps, you can maintain good oral health and have a beautiful smile for years to come!

Skip to content