About Teeth

Teeth are among the most distinctive features of people. People, like other mammals, are diphyodont, meaning that they develop two sets of teeth. The first set (also called the “baby”, “milk”, “primary”, and “deciduous” set) normally starts to appear at about six months of age, although some babies are born with one or more visible teeth, known as neonatal teeth. Normal tooth eruption at about six months is known as teething and can be painful.

Teeth of humans are small, calcified, hard, whitish structures found in the mouth. They function in mechanically breaking down items of food by cutting and crushing them in preparation for swallowing and digestion. The roots of teeth are embedded in the maxilla (upper jaw) or the mandible (lower jaw) and are covered by gums. Teeth are made of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness.

Primary (Baby) Teeth

Throughout your life, you will have two sets of teeth: primary (baby) teeth and secondary (permanent) teeth. At age 6-8 months, the primary teeth appear; all 20 are in place by age 3.

Secondary (Permanent) Teeth

Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age 6, and except for wisdom teeth, are all present between ages 12 and 14. The next teeth to grow in are the 12-year molars and finally the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth typically begin breaking through from age 17 and on. The total number of permanent teeth is 32, though few people have room for all 32 teeth. This is why wisdom teeth are usually removed.
Your front teeth are called incisors. The sharp “fang-like” teeth are canines. The next side teeth are referred to as pre-molars or bicuspids, and the back teeth are molars. Your permanent teeth are the ones you keep for life, so it is vital that they are brushed and flossed regularly and that periodic check-ups by a dentist are followed.