Babies develop 20 primary teeth that serve as placeholders for adult teeth. Once permanent teeth come in, each person will have 32 teeth. Not only do our teeth allow us to chew food and speak properly, but they also contribute to our youthful appearances, keeping facial muscles from sagging and giving us full features.
Adults have four types of teeth, and each type has a different function:
Located in the front and center of the mouth, every person has eight incisors, four on the upper jaw and four on the lower jaw. Incisors have flat, broad, and chisel-like edges that allow us to chop and cut food into pieces.
Also known as cuspids, the four canine teeth are located on each side of the incisors. These sharp, pointed teeth are used for ripping and tearing, especially with tough foods like meat.
Serving as a combination of a canine and molar, your eight premolars have cusp areas on the broader surfaces of these teeth to facilitate grinding and chewing. With premolars, you can also pierce or tear food because they have sharp points as well.
With three molars in each jaw quadrant, humans have a total of 12 molars, the largest of all teeth. Most chewing of food occurs in the back of the jaw and is performed by the molars. Your third molars, also called wisdom teeth, erupt the last, often in your late teens or early twenties. Because they are so far back and are prone to decay, wisdom teeth may need to be surgically removed.