Your incisors are your front teeth, which you use for biting and chewing food. They are also the teeth that show when you smile! For a healthy set of teeth, you should brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you are unable to do this, your dentist or oral hygienist can recommend a mouthwash to help cleanse your teeth of bacteria and plaque.
If your teeth are healthy and properly aligned, you should not need treatment for an incisor alignment issue. When your incisors are not properly aligned with the rest of your mouth, this is known as malocclusion. This condition affects millions of people every year and can be corrected through orthodontic treatment or cosmetic dentistry.
In most cases, regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist for cleanings can help prevent the need for cosmetic treatments to correct misaligned incisors. If you do require treatment to correct the alignment of your teeth, there are two main options: braces and clear aligner therapy. In cases of malocclusion, dentists use clear aligner trays to gently shift the teeth into proper alignment over time. This form of treatment is a popular choice for people who want to straighten their teeth without wearing metal brackets and wires on their teeth. Talk to a dentist if you think you may need treatment for malocclusion.
How to Care for Your Front Teeth InfographicProvider: Dr. Megan Oltmann and Dr. Matthew RogersLicensed under Creative Commons Zero: 0 License Video footage from: Canines
Also known as cuspids, canines are the pointed teeth toward the front of the mouth in the upper and lower jaws. The crown of the tooth is covered with enamel and the root is protected by the gum tissue. Due to their size, these teeth are primarily used for tearing food into smaller pieces, rather than biting or chewing it. For example, dogs use these teeth to bite off chew toys when their teeth get worn down from chewing on bones.
Humans also have canine teeth, but the size of ours is smaller in comparison to those of wolves. Typically, 1-6 teeth develop on each side of the upper and lower jaw. However, some people lack one or more of these teeth due to a birth defect, injury, or their genetic makeup. In this case, the teeth that are missing can be replaced with dental implants and bridges. (Related terms: gummy smile, overbite, underbite).
Canines are also known as the dog teeth or fangs. This term comes from the Latin root word “canis” meaning “dog.” (Related terms: crowded teeth, crooked teeth, gapped teeth, crossbite, open bite, missing lateral incisor).
Both premolars have one pointed cusp and are used to grind food during chewing, especially in the back of the mouth. They are the most common teeth to be extracted during orthodontic treatment because they are used so often for chewing. If a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma, the neighboring molars often shift toward the gap and become misaligned over time.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. These teeth typically grow around the age of 18 to 20 years, but some people don’t have wisdom teeth at all. Some people experience no pain or even discomfort with their wisdom teeth, while others feel intense pain and pressure in the back of their mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause infection, cysts or other serious problems. In some cases, dentists recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth before they cause problems. However, other times, people keep their wisdom teeth with no problems.
The premolars play an important role in maintaining oral health by helping to remove pieces of food from between the teeth to help avoid cavities and gum disease. When extra pieces of food or drink get trapped between teeth, they are difficult to remove with traditional brushing and flossing. This increases your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. The premolars are also responsible for helping to guide the gums back toward the base of the teeth to create a nice, even line along the gumline.
Molars are one of the three primary types of teeth in mammals, including humans. These are the flat back teeth, and are also described as the “grinding” teeth because they grind food against the molars of other teeth in order to break it down into small enough pieces to swallow it. The molars are also used to chew tough foods, such as meat and fibrous vegetables like carrots.
In some cases, wisdom teeth are part of this classification of teeth. However, they are more properly classified as third molars, because they are typically the only adult teeth that people do not naturally have room for in their mouths. Instead, most people end up needing their wisdom teeth removed to prevent complications. This can also prevent overcrowding of the mouth.
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