Teeth and Their Names
The permanent dentition consists of 32 teeth. This is made up of four incisors, two canines (or cuspids), four premolars (or bicuspids), four molars and two wisdom teeth (also called third molars) in each jaw. If wisdom teeth have been removed there will be 28 teeth.
The incisors are the middlemost four teeth on the upper and lower jaws. They are used for cutting, tearing and holding food. The biting section of an incisor is wide and thin, making a chisel-shaped cutting edge.
The canines (or cuspids, meaning a tooth with a single point) are on either side of the incisors. They are for holding and tearing food.
Premolars (bicuspids) and molars have a series of elevations (points or ‘cusps’) that are used for breaking up particles of food. Each premolar generally has two cusps, hence the name bicuspid. They are used for holding and crushing food.
Molars are the flat teeth at the rear of the mouth. Each molar typically has four or five cusps. They are used exclusively for crushing and grinding.
Wisdom teeth are also called third molars. They erupt from the age of 18 onwards but are often surgically removed.
If you’re calling the office about a tooth that is bothering you, we will ask you to identify where in the mouth the problem tooth is, ie: Upper Right, Lower Right, Upper Left, Lower Left. Call Barbara Bell DDS, PA right away if you are experiencing an emergency with your teeth.