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201 East Chestnut Street, Ste. B Asheville, NC 28801

How Well Do You Know Your Teeth?

Woman smiling during a cosmetic dental consultation at the dentist asheville ncHow well do you know your teeth? We use them to chew our food and they play a large part in shaping your mouth and consequently your entire face. They make up your smile which is what you use to make first impressions on others. But a lot of people don’t know which tooth is an incisor and which is a molar.

When we have a toothache and are asked by dentists like Dr. Shawna Hoffert at Red Maple Dental in Asheville NC, ‘which tooth is bothering you?’, many of us simply point and say, “that one!” like we’ve spotted a suspect in a police lineup. So let’s take a moment to get to know our teeth a little better.

A Quick Guide to Your Teeth

Human beings have two sets of teeth in our lifetime: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. The primary teeth- also known as the “baby teeth”- begin growing in when we are only about six months old and are usually all grown in by the time we reach three years of age. Our secondary teeth, also known as our “adult teeth”, start emerging as the primary teeth begin falling out. This usually takes place between the ages of six and twelve years old for most people.

The average adult usually has 32 secondary teeth but they are not all the same. Your teeth have different jobs based on their shapes. They could be compared to the players on your favorite football team: each has a position based on their shape and where they are but they work together as a team. 

The Types of Teeth

  1. Incisors: These are the eight teeth in the very front of your mouth. We have four incisors on the bottom and four on top. These are primarily used for biting off pieces of food.
  2. Canines: These teeth are named after the fangs of a canine (dog) due to their sharp, pointed appearance. We have four canines, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors. Canine teeth are used to rip and tear food.
  3. Bicuspids: These teeth, also known as premolars, are used for chewing and grinding foods. We have four bicuspids, two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.
  4. Molars: These flat-topped teeth, also used for chewing and grinding, grow at rear of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom, two on each side. Molars are an area that commonly experience tooth decay due the fact that they are used constantly but can be difficult to clean as thoroughly. Many people also grow third molars, more commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” due to their late arrival (late teens to early twenties). Four third molars will erupt, one each side, top and bottom. Wisdom teeth that fail to emerge are said to be impacted and require a surgical procedure to remove. These are also prone to tooth decay due to their location at the very rear of the mouth.

Comprehensive Dental Care in Asheville, NC

Now that you know you teeth a little better, you will be better able to communicate with Dr. Hoffert when you may be having a problem. For example, if you have pain in the rear of your mouth while chewing, you may have an issue with a molar. At the very least, maybe you now appreciate the different roles your teeth play in chewing on your food and why you need all of them. This is why it’s important to schedule regular cleanings and exams with Dr. Hoffert at Red Maple Dental in Asheville NC. To schedule call (828)-358-1925 or request an appointment online.