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What Are the Different Types of Teeth Called?

As human beings, we can have two types of teeth or two sets of dentition in our lifetime. They are the primary teeth or baby teeth and the secondary, adult, or permanent teeth (Aruede & Pepper, 2022).

There are twenty primary or baby teeth that are evenly spread across the upper and lower jaws (Aruede & Pepper, 2022).

These primary teeth will ultimately be replaced by the permanent teeth; 32 in total (Aruede & Pepper, 2022).

incisors teeth

What Are the Different Types of Teeth Called?

Teeth can make, and break, your smile. You don’t always appreciate them when you have them working properly, but in people who have misshapen teeth or poor dentition can have teeth that are like street lamps and very noticeable. Additionally, teeth are important to your speech, and also your nutrition. If you think about it, your digestive system starts with your teeth, breaking down the food so you can digest it better.  If you are not able to chew properly, your gut will have a harder time breaking down the food and extracting the nutrients from it.

There are different types of teeth. They fall into 4 main categories – incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. In general, a fully grown adult will have 32 permanent teeth.

What Are The Types Of Teeth?

The types of teeth that we will discuss are the permanent teeth that adults have. Children have a slightly different classification for their teeth, but they will have similar teeth. If you’re interested in learning more about pediatric teeth, speak to your pediatric dentist. Now, let’s learn more about the four different adult teeth, namely, the incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

What Are Incisors?

The incisors are the teeth that are generally visible when you smile. They are the four most middle teeth on the top and the bottom jaws. These teeth help you with the first bites into food and help support the lips. The two main types of incisors are the central incisors and the lateral incisors.

The central incisors teethare found in the anterior or front part of the jaws; they can generally be recognized because they are shaped like shovels, and are one of the most prominent features of your smile. Think of it this way, your central incisors teethhelp you pronounce your consonants clearly.

The inferior or bottom central incisors help with mastication (chewing your food). Furthermore, the small teeth between the central incisors and your canines are known as the lateral incisors. In general, fully grown adults will have four lateral incisors consisting of two top incisors and two bottom incisors.

These teeth have a single root and play a very significant role in digestion. Your lateral incisors help to break your food down into smaller pieces when chewing.

Next up, the second type of teeth is the canine teeth.Adults have four of these canine teeth.

What Are Canines?

As mentioned above, fully grown adults will normally have four canines teethin total, one on each side of the top and bottom incisors.

These are generally the strongest type of the teeth, and are very resistant to the pressure caused by mastication (chewing). These canines are meant to shear the food, support the lips, and complement the incisors and premolars during mastication. Your canines also play a huge role in guiding the teeth into correct alignment when the mouth is closed.

You can recognize your canines by their pointy tip. You orthodontist will be able to point them out to you as well.

That pointy tip also means that they are prone to breaking in accidents or during sports. Adults may have canines that are not as pointy as they should be as a result.  This is also a good reason to wear a mouthguard when you play contact sports, even things like basketball or volleyball.

What Are Premolars?

Your premolars teeth are another type of teeth and are located behind your canine teeth.

Fully grown adults normally have four premolars on the top and bottom of the jaws. Premolars can also be recognized because they are flat on top and are also used to chew your food. Specifically, they tear and grind food into smaller pieces during mastication, and also help to maintain the height of your face.

Next are your molars.

What Are Molars?

Your molars teeth are next to your premolars. These are the flattest teeth and also the widest and are the strongest teeth that adults have. They are also the most numerous in the mouth of a fully grown adult as fully grown adults will have 12 molars in general. Six molars are on the top jaw and six molars are located on the bottom jaw.

More specifically, you can find your molars at the back of your mouth in groups of three. Also speak to your dentist orthodontist to help you accurately identify your molars.

They commonly have multiple roots to help anchor them. They do a lot of the grinding action during chewing.

While this has not been exhaustive, it should give you a good idea of where your different teeth are located, and some of their functions.

To recap, your teeth are divided into four different types, namely, the incisors, the canines, the molars, and the premolars. They make up a total of 32 adult teeth in a fully grown person.

What’s Next?

If you want to know more, speak to your orthodontist or your dentist about learning more about your teeth.

Here are some more fun facts. The portion of your teeth that is above the surface and can be viewed easily in the mouth is the crown. This crown is connected to the root that is below the gums.

It is not possible to view the roots of your teeth just by looking into your mouth. The roots are viewed by imaging and can be evaluated by a trained health professional.

Speak to your dentist or orthodontist about how your teeth grow, and feel free to visit to book an appointment with a trained specialist if you would like to improve the appearance of your dental arches.

You can also call our phone number to make an appointment or visit the clinic to schedule your appointment.

When you attend your appointment, you will be able to ask your orthodontist or dentist any questions you have, and take charge of your dental health.


Aruede G, Pepper T. Anatomy, Permanent Dentition. [Updated 2022 May 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: