Your teeth are crucial parts of your smile and help you with daily tasks such as chewing food or speaking in a clear manner. Taking care of your teeth will go a long way in ensuring that you get to enjoy healthy smiles for a long time – but have you given a thought to the types of teeth you have? You might be surprised that not all teeth are created equal; in fact, the different types of teeth have their own special functions as well!
Your eight front teeth (four on the bottom and four on top) are called incisors, which are used for taking bites of food. Usually, this type of teeth is the first to come out from under the gum line – baby teeth at approximately 6 months of age, and permanent (adult) teeth at around 6 years old. The next type of teeth to develop are the canines or your four “fangs”. These are your sharpest teeth, used to tear food apart. Upper canines usually come out first at 16-20 months of age, followed by the lower fangs. The order is reversed with permanent canines; lower canines develop first at around 9 years of age, with the top ones erupting at around 11-12 years.
You have four premolars on each side of your mouth – two each on the lower and on the upper jaw. These teeth are used to grind food, and the first ones come out from under the gum line at around 10 years of age. Primary molars are also used for food grinding and chewing, with the permanent ones (also four on each side of the mouth) developing in between the ages of 11 and 13. Third molars also called “wisdom teeth”, are the last ones to grow out of the gum line at around 18 to 20 years of age. These teeth may not develop at all for some people. On the other hand, those who have wisdom teeth may need to have them removed because they can cause overcrowding.