The Different Types of Teeth

Everyone knows the contour, shape, and size of their own teeth. They notice them everyday. They see them in the mirror. They brush them. They pick food out of them and even massage particularly sore areas of their mouths. Just like any other part of your body, you are intimately familiar with your own teeth.

With that said, how many people actually know the names and roles of each tooth in their mouth? That’s an entirely different number of people, I’m sure.

We’re here to highlight the different types of teeth and what their different names and functions are. (Also, can you guess how many teeth are in the human mouth without counting your own?)


These are primarily used to bite into food. They’re particularly good at cleaving things in two and pulling a bite of food off that’s harder to remove. They’re the teeth that do the “biting”, when you think of a bite.

These are your top front 4 and bottom front 4 teeth. If you want to get technical, the inner two are called central incisors and the two to the sides of those are the lateral incisors.


These teeth are the sharpest in your mouth (even though incisors are pretty dang sharp, too). These are particularly sharp in order to pierce and tear meat. The incisors help to “chop” meat off when tearing, sure, but the canines do a much better job at holding onto meat tight and ripping it.

There are two on the top and two on the bottom in the front “corners” of your mouth. These are hard to miss.


Often grouped with the rest of your molars, premolars are the first two teeth after your canines on each side of your mouth (a total of 8). They’re a bit flat with some ridges and mostly function the same as your molars.


Molars are pretty well known. They come after the premolars and are much stronger than them. Molars also help your tongue to corral and swallow food. They’re primarily used for chewing and grinding foods in the back of your mouth, especially vegetables and other leafy foods.

2. canine. (piercing) 3. premolar. (crushing) 4. molar. (grinding)

Along with molars are the third molar, or wisdom teeth. Around 18 to 20 years of age, some people develop these. They’re often removed because of pain, overcrowding, and they’re hard to clean. In case of any complication, its always recommended consulting your olYMpia dentist.

(And to answer the question earlier, it’s 32 total teeth in the human mouth!)