Maple Leaf Dental

A Guided Tour of Your Teeth


Unless you have a cavity or some other problem with your teeth, it’s likely that you never really thought about the different types there are and what they do. The normal adult has 32 teeth, which include four different types, each of which does a completely different job. Each task is important, and they combine to create the perfect machine for getting food into your body. But much like the links in a chain, all the teeth have to work together to get the job done correctly. That’s why it’s so important for your prosthodontist to replace any teeth that you may lose through accident or decay.


When you give someone a big smile, you’re showing off your incisors. They’re the eight sharp teeth in the very front of your mouth, four on the top and four on the bottom. The sharp edges of your incisors help you to bite into food; they’re generally the first teeth that come into contact with anything you eat. Ever look at the bite marks you leave in an apple or a chunk of cheese? Those are left by your incisors. They’re the first teeth to grow in your mouth, generally appearing in adult form between six and eight years of age.


You have four canine teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom. Each pair flanks the row of incisors. They’re very sharp and pointy teeth, looking very much like a dog’s fangs. In fact, that’s how they got their name. The canine teeth are meant for tearing food like meat or crusty bread and are famous as the fangs that fictional vampires use on their victims. Most people see their lower adult canines first at around the age of nine, but the upper ones usually take two or three years longer to appear.


The next in line in your mouth are the premolars. Two of them sit in a row past each canine tooth. These teeth are much bigger than either the incisors or the canines, and they have a flat surface covered with ridges. These ridges are the perfect surface for crushing or grinding large pieces of food to make them smaller and easier to swallow. When children lose their baby molar teeth, these teeth are replaced by the adult premolars. This generally happens at about 10 years of age.


Your molars are your strongest and largest teeth. You have six on top and six on the bottom, divided between the left and right sides of your jaw. When you eat, your tongue naturally pushes food toward the back of your mouth toward the molars. These largest teeth grind up food to the smallest size to make it easier to swallow and digest.

There are eight main molars in most adults’ mouth, which generally come in at six and 12 years of age. In addition, there are four wisdom teeth, one at each end of the rows of teeth in the farthest reaches of the jaw. These teeth generally erupt between 17 and 25 years of age. Not everyone’s jaw has enough room for this third set of molars to erupt. If the molars are impacted, that means they don’t have any space to grow in. In this case, your dental professional will likely advise you to have them removed.


No matter which of your teeth are giving you trouble, only the most skilled Houston prosthodontists will do. Maple Leaf Dental can turn back time, replacing your damaged teeth with artificial ones that even your mother won’t notice. Call us at (281) 497-5558 or email us to get started. Your smile won’t wait forever!

Oh, by the way, we’re giving away copies of our “How to Take a Great Selfie” guide for a limited time. Just click here, enter your email and you’ll be creating beautiful selfies in no time. Sign up for our newsletter while you’re there and you’ll get regular tips on better oral care and in-depth information on dental procedures.