Different Kinds of Teeth and What They Do

Different Kinds of Teeth and What They Do


Written By: Samana Agha | 06 December 2023

Our teeth are the quiet heroes in our bodies, doing important work that we often overlook. They come in different shapes and sizes, teaming up to help break down our food so we can digest it easily. Beyond appearance, teeth are ectodermal organs, akin to hair, skin, and sweat glands. They contribute significantly to digestion by cutting, crushing, and grinding food, aiding in easier swallowing. The growth of teeth occurs in two stages, milk teeth develop before birth, with the first set completed by the second birthday, lasting 6 to 7 years. Adult teeth emerge around 7 years, numbering 32 when the set is complete.
There are following types of teeth in a set, incisors, canines, premolars and molars.


Incisors are the eight teeth right at the front of your mouth—four on top and four on the bottom. You can easily see them when you smile or talk. These teeth have a pointy edge that’s great for biting and cutting food. When you take a bite, incisors are the first ones to get to work, helping you bite off small pieces of your food. Besides their job in eating, incisors also play a part in how we talk. Their sharp edge helps us make certain sounds, like the “f” and “v” sounds, and the “th” sound in words like “think” and “this.” So, they’re not just for eating; they help us speak clearly too!


Canines, also known as “eye teeth,” earned their name because they look like a dog’s fangs—super pointy! Because of their pointed shape, they are also known as “cuspids.” Most people have four of them, one in each quadrant of their mouth. These teeth are great at tearing into food, like meat and crunchy veggies. Picture them as your bite buddies. With their sharp tips, they can pierce through tough stuff like meats and hard bread crusts. So, when you think canines, think sharp, strong, and ready to tackle your tasty bites!


Premolars, also known as bicuspids, hang out between your canines and the back teeth (molars). These eight teeth—four on top and four on the bottom- help you do a bit of everything: tearing, crushing, and grinding your food into smaller bits. They are the multitaskers of your mouth! Their flat surface is perfect for tackling nuts, grains, and raw veggies. They’re bigger and sturdier than your incisors and canines. Fun fact: in the past, if there wasn’t enough room, some people had their adult premolars removed. Nowadays, we try to make space early on with clever dental tricks if things get a bit crowded.


Molars are the big chewers at the back of your mouth, doing about 90% of the chewing work. Most adults have 12 molars-three in each quadrant of their mouth. If you’ve had your wisdom teeth taken out or never had them, you likely have eight molars altogether. These teeth are like your food crushers, helping you grind and crush everything you eat. Molars are at the end of the tooth lineup, with six on top and six on the bottom. You won’t see them much when you smile, but they’re the champs of chewing. Their large surface area makes them pros at grinding and crushing food effectively. Wisdom teeth, also known as “third molars” pop up at the very back of your mouth in your late teens or early twenties. While they’re good at grinding and crushing, they aren’t always necessary and might need to be removed if they cause problems like pain or crowding.

Four Main Layers of Your Teeth

  • 1. Enamel: The tough outer layer protects your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. It’s the hardest stuff in your body.
  • 2. Dentin: Right under enamel, it’s not as strong. If enamel is missing, dentin is exposed, and that raises the risk of cavities.
  • 3. Cementum: This covers your tooth’s root and, along with gum tissues, keeps your tooth securely in your jaw.
  • 4. Tooth Pulp: The innermost part houses nerves, blood vessels, and tissues, deep inside your tooth.

Main Parts of the Teeth

  • 1. Crown: The top part you see above your gums. It’s covered in hard enamel, protecting it.
  • 2. Root: The part hidden below your gums, holding the tooth in your jaw. You can’t see it, but it’s anchored by the periodontal ligament.

When To Visit A Dentist?

To keep your smile healthy, it’s good to see the dentist every six months for a regular checkup and cleaning. This helps prevent issues like cavities and gum problems and lets the dentist catch any concerns early.But, if you’re dealing with tooth pain or notice things like swelling, persistent bad breath, bleeding gums, or changes in your teeth or gums, it’s a sign to see the dentist sooner. Also, if chewing becomes tricky, it’s worth a visit.
If anything seems off with your teeth, don’t wait. Book an appointment with a dentist at Apex Dental Clinics. They can figure out what’s going on and suggest the right treatment to get your dental health back on track.