The Anatomy of Your Teeth

You brush your teeth twice a day, see your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning but do you really understand what teeth you have and why you have them?

How many teeth do you have?

The average person has 20 primary (baby) teeth and 32 permanent (adult) teeth, this includes wisdom teeth. But not all teeth are the same, they each have a unique shape and purpose.

Tooth Anatomy: Parts of Your Teeth

There are four major parts of your teeth: enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp that make up your tooth anatomy.

  • Enamel: Enamel is the hard outer covering of your tooth. In fact, it is harder than bone. Its purpose is to protect your teeth from bacteria; however, without proper oral hygiene the enamel can become damaged and allow for bacteria to cause cavities.
  • Dentin: Dentin is located underneath the enamel, it is softer than enamel and therefore much more at risk for a cavity if the enamel is not present to protect it.
  • Cementum: This is tissue that covers the root of your tooth and helps anchor it to the bone. In most cases you will never see the cementum of your teeth because it is covered by your gums. However, if your gums begin to recede or you have periodontal disease, the cementum will be exposed. This area is a high risk for cavities if exposed.
  • Pulp: Pulp is the very core of your tooth and contains nerves and blood vessels. If a cavity gets to the pulp of your tooth, the nerve will become infected which will send pain signals to your teeth.

Related Article from healthline: Tooth Anatomy: Diagram, Structure, and Function

Tooth Anatomy: Types of Adult Teeth

Everyone will have incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Each of these teeth have a specific function … let’s discuss:

Incisors: Eight of your teeth are incisors and are in the front of your mouth. These teeth are used to support your lips, biting into food and helping with speech. They are typically the first teeth to erupt for babies at around 6 months of age. Incisors are also the first baby teeth that your child will lose typically around age 6-7.

Canines: You have four canine teeth in total. These teeth tend to be pointed and are primarily used for tearing and cutting food.  The primary canines typically come in around 16 to 20 months of age. The permanent canines won’t come in until age 11-12.

Premolars: You have eight premolars in total. Their purpose is grinding and chewing food. Interestingly, there are no primary premolars. These teeth will begin to erupt around age 10 and they replace the primary molars.

Molars: There are eight molars. They will erupt in two sets. First molars appear around age 6 and second molars appear around age 11-13. These are also used for grinding and chewing food.

Third Molars: These are commonly known as wisdom teeth and most often there are 4 of these teeth. These are the last teeth to develop and erupt. They typically do not erupt until 18-21 years old and frequently they are impacted (stuck underneath the gums). In many instances these may need to be removed to prevent cavities, crowding or jaw pain.

It is important that your child sees their dentist every 6 months to ensure there are no cavities.

Function of Your Teeth

  • A primary function of the teeth is to break down and chewed the food. It will make it easy for the digestive system to digest the food and allow our body to absorb all the nutrients of the food easily.
  • Teeth help with speech so you can pronounce words correctly.
  • Teeth can offer you a good appearance … we know a nice smile can increase self confidence.
  • In early ages, children usually have baby teeth and the function of the baby teeth is to reserve spaces for the permanent teeth. With the passage of time, when the permanent teeth start to erupt, the baby teeth begin to fall out. It will create room and space for the permanent teeth.

Schedule a Dental Exam for Baby TOO!

Always remember these eruption times are just an average. Some children may get their teeth early and some may get them late. It is important that your child start seeing the dentist at an early age (by age 1 is the recommendation). This allows your child to get used to going to the dentist and allows the dentist to monitor how all your child’s teeth are coming in. Remember, if left untreated, dental decay can harm the child’s permanent teeth, below the gums. But, we also to make sure that their permanent teeth are coming in properly. Consistent evaluation of the baby teeth can help us prevent problems with permanent teeth.

Learn more about Baby Teeth and why they’re so important in our blog, Hey Baby!

Oralh Health for Baby: When Should I Schedule My Baby’s First Dental Visit?

Luff Dental can help you keep your teeth happy and healthy!

We hope you’ve learned more about your pearly whites. As you can see, oral health is very important to us. It’s more than a perfect “Hollywood Smile”, we want to make sure our patients have healthy teeth, mouth and gums, because if their mouth is healthy … their body has a better chance of being healthy too. And at Luff Dental, we are always accepting new patients. We’re here to help you overcome any dental health challenges you or your family may be experiencing.

Work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for your smile! We are always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve the health of their teeth, their confidence and smile! Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.