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Canines and Molars and Incisors – Oh My!

Your teeth carry a lot of clout. Whether being featured in a dazzling smile, working hard to chew food or playing a pivotal part in good speech, healthy teeth are vital. Each type of tooth in your mouth has a different role, but all need to be taken care of with proper professional dental care to function their best. Here’s a look at the specialized functions of each of your different type of teeth.

Types of TeethIncisors

The eight teeth at the very front of your mouth (four on top, four on the bottom) are called incisors. You may notice that their name is similar to the word “scissors,” which is appropriate as these teeth work like scissors, cutting through food with their thin edges – imagine biting into an apple, for example. This group of teeth also takes a prominent role in your smile as well, as the front and center teeth.


Surrounding the incisors are the cuspids, better known as the canines. These are the four sharp teeth that are located at each side of the upper and lower sets of incisors. Known as the “cornerstones of the mouth,” each member of this group of teeth is located as the third tooth away from the midline of the mouth. Whereas incisors slice through food like a blade, canines rip and tear food apart with a sharp pointed edge.


This is the category of teeth that only appears as part of the permanent, or adult, set of teeth. Two premolars, also known as bicuspids, sit next to each of the canines in both the upper and lower jaw. They are used primarily for holding, chewing and crushing food.


Of all the types of teeth in your mouth, molars are the main chewers and grinders. Most adults will have two sets of molars in each of the four back corners of the mouth. Some people also develop one or more third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth often need to be surgically removed because they cause crowding of the molars and teeth located further forward in the mouth, which disrupts the overall alignment of a person’s bite.

Brushing and flossing your teeth at home is a good start, but it is not enough. Professional dental exams, cleanings and X-rays can detect and help prevent problems that can threaten the appearance and functioning of your teeth. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to keep your mouth and your smile looking and feeling great. Call Brockport Dental in Albion today at 585-589-0000 to learn more or schedule an appointment online now.

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