Whenever you open your closet and look down at your shoes, do you ever exclaim, “Why do I have so many pairs of shoes?! I only have two feet!” Of course you don’t. Not only would you annoy everyone you lived with, but they would probably think you were crazy. Each pair of shoes has a different purpose: one pair is for work, the other for running, and those are just flip-flops. You’d never mix them up. Have you ever wondered why you have different kinds of teeth? Dr. Kelly LeBlanc, your dentist in Spring, TX, wants you to know a little more about each of your teeth.
The teeth that you probably show when you smile are called incisors. They are the sharp, chisel-shaped teeth at the front of the mouth that enable you to bite into food. You have 4 top incisors and 4 on the bottom. They also help you pronounce words and support your lips.
On each side of your upper and lower incisors, you have a canine tooth, sometimes called a cuspid. They serve two main purposes. Firstly, they help you grasp food when you chew. They are an important factor in your ability to eat meat and other tough foods. The second purpose is that they help guide your teeth together whenever you close your jaw, working like interlocking puzzle-pieces with each other.
As we move farther back into the mouth, we come to the premolars. Dentists call them bicuspids. They have a flatter top than canines and help you crush and chew food, as well as maintain the height of your face. You should have 2 on each side of your top and bottom teeth, totaling 8.
Your back teeth are shaped wide and flat, helping you to grind and chew food right before you swallow. The tops of these teeth are very rough and uneven to help this process. Most adults have 3 on each side of their top and bottom teeth, totaling 12. However, many people do not develop their third set of molars, or wisdom teeth. These often have to be removed in order to avoid crowding.
That’s All of Them!
Those are all 32 (or 28) of your teeth. Each one serves a different purpose from eating to talking. You need every one of them to functional normally and comfortably, which is why you should brush and floss regularly. Be sure to also periodically visit your family dentist in Spring, TX to keep them clean. The back teeth, as mentioned before, have entirely too many small surfaces for you to reach on your own. Now that you know what each tooth does, maybe you’ll appreciate them more the next time you eat or talk. If you have any other questions about your teeth or how to keep them clean, please give us a call today.