Have you ever considered how much your teeth do for you every day? Not only do they help you chew and digest your food, but they help you speak and provide the centerpiece of a smile that shapes your face. But how much do you know about these small, hard-working pearly whites?
Our dentist at Merkley Dental wants patients to understand how important their teeth are to their general health. We promote a strong oral hygiene routine for our patients that includes regular checkups and cleanings to keep plaque, tartar, and bacteria from making themselves at home in your mouth.
Here’s a brief primer on the four different types of teeth and their functions:
- Those eight thin, straight teeth in the front of your mouth are the incisors. There are four in the upper jaw and four in the lower jaw. Your incisors help cut your food into chewable pieces that are easier to swallow and digest.
- The canines are those four teeth on each side of your incisors. These sharp, pointy teeth — which dentists call cuspids — are the longest teeth and help tearing our food. Canines may also play a role in guiding our other teeth into position.
- In an adult set of teeth, there are eight premolars, behind the canines — four in the upper and four in the lower jaw. These bicuspids are flat on top and good for crushing and tearing food.
- A dozen molars — behind those premolars and evenly distributed between your top and bottom teeth — are the flattest, widest teeth. These are primarily for grinding and crushing our food. So-called wisdom teeth are also molars, and are the last to erupt in adulthood.
Our friendly dentist at Merkley Dental hopes this brief primer will help our patients appreciate the importance of those pearly whites. Let’s work together to keep them healthy for years to come! Please contact our office today for an appointment.