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How Many Teeth Do We Have?

An adult typically has a total of 32 teeth. On the other hand, children from 3 to 7 years old have 20 teeth. But, studies also indicate that not all adult teeth add up to 32, sometimes due to complications and other causes.

This article gives a closer look at everything you need to understand about teeth, what makes them unique, and how to care for your beautiful smile.

What Are the 4 Types of Teeth?

There are typically 32 adult teeth. Each of the 32 teeth falls into one of the four different categories, including:

  • Eight Incisors
  • Four Canines
  • Eight Premolars
  • Twelve Molars (the number inclusive of 4 wisdom teeth)

Incisors

Incisors occupy the front-most part of your mouth. Sometimes people call them front teeth, and they’re the types of teeth you’ll first see in a teething infant. Usually, there are eight incisors, four in the lower jaw and four in the upper jaw.

They cut foods into smaller pieces before your tongue and other teeth pass them towards the back of your mouth for proper chewing and swallowing.

The Canines

The canine teeth are the next set that appears immediately after incisors. Humans usually have four canines: two on the top jaw, and two on the bottom jaw.  

The canines are sharp and pointed. They help in cutting and tearing food. Additionally, the shape of canines enables them to control rows of your teeth to ensure that they slide smoothly without clashing when you move your jaw.

The Premolars

The premolars occupy the space immediately after the canines and just before the molars. An adult has eight premolars, four in the upper jaw and four in the lower jaw.

The grinding process begins in the premolars before the food gets to the molars for thorough grinding and chewing. Some people refer to premolars as transitional teeth, given that they direct food particles from your canines to the molars for thorough chewing.

The Molars (and the Wisdom Teeth)

Molars occupy the back of your mouth and there are typically 12 of them (this includes four wisdom teeth). Molars are large, enabling them to chew and grind food. Each of your jaws (left lower, left upper, right lower, and right upper) has three molars.

They’re marked as the first, second, and third molars. The third molar at each side of your jaw is wisdom teeth. They sit at the farthest back of your mouth and erupt last (between 18 and 25 years).

They’re typically painful and often have to be removed, especially if they erupt sideways or partially. Likewise, some people never develop wisdom teeth.

When Is It Advisable to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Your dentist may recommend removing the wisdom teeth when they’ve fully erupted and are visible. But, sometimes, these teeth can erupt improperly, causing a lot of discomfort and swelling. You may consult your dentist to get your wisdom teeth removed surgically if this occurs.

Similarly, the impacted wisdom teeth may not cause you trouble immediately. In some cases, however, these teeth may destroy adjacent teeth, catch infections, or cause general oral health complications. Some of the signs of impacted wisdom teeth are:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Soft or bleeding gums
  • Pains and discomfort in the jaws
  • Struggle when opening your mouth or eating
  • Red or swollen gums

Visit your dentist if you see the above signs or suspect impacted wisdom teeth, and discuss your fears. Sometimes your dentist may notice and advise you about these teeth in your regular checkups.

Adult Teeth

When you’re born, permanent teeth begin developing in your jaws and keep growing until 21 years. You’ll probably have 32 permanent teeth (16 in the upper jaw, 16 in the lower jaw).

But, most people have 28 teeth (14 in the upper jaw, 14 in the lower jaw) after removing their wisdom teeth. Likewise, other peoples’ wisdom teeth never erupt.

As a result, you don’t have to sweat it out if you have fewer teeth (28 instead of 32).

Baby Teeth

Infants start teething between the ages of 4 to 10 months. In most cases, the first teeth appear at six months, while a kid has a full set of baby teeth at two to three years.

These baby teeth are called deciduous teeth or milk teeth. There are typically 20 (4 incisors, two canines, and four molars in each jaw). 

When kids hit the age of 6 to 7 years, they begin to lose all their baby teeth, giving way to their permanent teeth. The front baby teeth are the first to be changed at roughly age 6 to 7. The back baby teeth are usually not lost until age 10-12 years. This means it is even more important to take care of the back baby teeth as they are not changed until the kids are in their early teens.  

How to Take Care of Adult and Baby Teeth

According to statistics, one in four children between 5 and 10 years have unattended decay in their deciduous teeth. Maintaining a healthy diet and hygiene can sufficiently protect your teeth forever.

These routines should begin even before the appearance of the first teeth in your kids and continue forever. Some of the tooth care procedures to focus on include:

Summary

Each of your adult teeth has many roles to play. There’s no better way to keep your beautiful smile than maintaining routine checkups and regular oral hygiene.

Even for small kids — the sooner you start taking care of their teeth, the better. Keep their oral hygiene in check and maintain routine checkups to solve any building problems.

Are you worried about your oral health and that of your kids? Consult with the experts at Whitehorse Dental to guide you into effective ways of keeping your teeth healthy, strong, and clean.