At most, you have 32 permanent teeth, but you start with 20 baby teeth, including incisors, canines and molars, per the American Dental Association (ADA). Getting a little brush up—pun intended—on all the human teeth names, each type’s location and their function can help you better understand why your oral care is so important.
Your smile begins with your incisors. These eight teeth are at the front of your mouth, with four on top and four on bottom, as Ireland’s Dental Health Foundation explains. Your incisors mainly work to slice and dice food into more easily chewable pieces. There are two types of incisors:
Your four cuspids are the fang-like teeth that sit next to your lateral incisors. They’re also often known as eye teeth (in the case of the upper two) or canines. As the Dental Health Foundation notes, these teeth have a sharp, biting surface and help you clamp down on food and tear it. Their position in your mouth also helps to guide your teeth and food into an optimal chewing position, according to the Advantage Career Institute Medical & Dental School (ACI) in the United States.
Your premolars are the next teeth adjacent to your canines, and they’re found only in your permanent set of teeth. These eight teeth help you crush food, as the Dental Health Foundation explains. In terms of human teeth names, they are also referred to as bicuspids — a term which indicates that they have two points, according to the Dictionary of Medicine.
Your molars are located in the back of your mouth and are the main teeth you use for chewing, as the Advantage Career Institute Medical & Dental School (ACI) notes. In a full set of permanent teeth, there will be six molars in total, with three on the top and three on the bottom: