Learn About Your Teeth

Your Teeth and What They Do

When it comes to teeth, you may think they are all the same, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are there multiple types of teeth in each mouth, but everyone’s teeth are different, too, when it comes to sizes, shapes and functionality.


Different Types of Teeth

Sometimes you might hear your dentist say you need treatment on a certain tooth number, or on multiple teeth. But what do these numbers mean? In short, they are numbers to identify which tooth in your mouth needs attention. Each single tooth has a number – 1 through 32 – and they are used daily here and at all dental offices. The most common numbering system for adult teeth starts at #1 being your upper right wisdom tooth and goes up by one per tooth as you move to the left along your upper arch, ending at #16 for your upper left wisdom tooth. Your lower left wisdom tooth is #17, and you count each tooth along your lower arch until you get to your lower right wisdom tooth, which is #32. Of course, most people have their wisdom teeth removed, so in that case – as long as you don’t have any missing teeth other than your wisdom teeth – your upper arch contains #2 through #15 and your lower arch contains #18 through #31.

Now you know exactly which number is assigned to all of your teeth. But do you know the difference between your molar, premolar, incisor, canine and wisdom teeth?


Your incisor teeth are almost always the first teeth people notice when you smile. They are the front four teeth on both your upper and lower arches. They are much thinner and flatter than your other teeth (not including your canines) and the primary function of these teeth are to cut your food apart. These teeth are strong, but still weaker than your molars and premolars, and also only have a single root unlike your chewing teeth, which is why once the food is in your mouth your incisors do not do any of the chewing.



Many people know a canine tooth when they see it as this is the only tooth that shows when you smile that really can stand out. Some people have extremely pointy canines, but for others these teeth can be as flat as their other teeth. There is only one canine per quadrant.

Regardless of how they look, these teeth are very helpful when it comes to tearing food apart. Many people feel like this is solely for meat, but canine teeth tear all kinds of different foods. However, they aren’t for chewing, due to their structure and their location in the mouth, so once food has been torn and enters the mouth, it is passed along to the premolar and molar teeth to be ground up before swallowing.


Premolar teeth are the two teeth directly in front of your molars. There are two per quadrant of your mouth unless you have had teeth pulled or are missing some due to genetics. Premolar teeth help grind food while chewing but also help you bite off hard parts of your food that your canines and incisors may be too weak to handle.


Your molar teeth are the larger teeth in the back of your mouth. There are three molars in each quadrant of your mouth unless your wisdom teeth have been removed, in which case there are only two per quadrant. These particular teeth are extremely useful when it comes to chewing your food. These teeth have two to three roots depending on the patient for extra stability while grinding and chewing, and have up to four or even five cusps.

Wisdom Teeth

Commonly called your third molars, or “thirds,” your wisdom teeth are nothing more than extra molars. However, most people need to have them removed. These are typically taken out during teenage years due to the fact that these particular molars tend to grown in sideways, or improperly. When this occurs it pushes them against your other teeth that have already grown in, causing crowding and even pain.


Affiliated Dentists Cares About Your Teeth

We here at Affiliated Dentists care about your teeth and oral health, which is why if we ever see any decay, cracks in your teeth or any other issues in your mouth we will make sure you are aware of it. Not only do we explain why you need certain treatment, but we also take detailed x-rays and intraoral photographs using our state of the art technology to show you exactly what we see. Together during your appointments at Affiliated Dentists your dentist and dental hygienist will work with you to come up with a treatment plan for you. If you haven’t been in for awhile be sure to schedule your appointment today.

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