Ask Some Dentists : A Dental Anatomy Overview

Our anatomy is a complicated network of systems that all interact with one another to make sure everything functions. So, it would make sense that just like our digestive or vascular system, our dental one would be just as complicated. Our teeth both inside and out have their own anatomy, most of which serve a purpose or a role to play. But what kind of function do we expect from them? What do dentists in Austin, Texas know about dental anatomy, and what roles does each tooth play? What are our teeth made of, and what can they withstand in terms of pressure or material? That is what we will answer.

dentists, tooth anatomy

The Anatomy of your Teeth

As a baby, when we first get our teeth in, we wind up with 10 matching pairs of teeth. 5 of those pairs line on the upper jaw, and the other 5 lines up on the lower. When we get older and lose our baby teeth, we get more. Eventually, by the time we are 21 years old, we get 3 more pairs, totaling to 26 teeth in our upper and lower jaw.  They all have a part to play, each one falling under at least 4 categories. Molar, Premolar, Canine, and Incisors. We do not get our premolars in until we reach our prepubescent stage of development, at around ages 10-12. Our third molars are the last to come in between ages 17-21.  What do they do, and why do we get some teeth later than others? We need to look at each type of tooth to answer the question better.


Typically, we have 3 pairs of molars in the back of our mouth, some of which come in during our baby tooth stage, and others that come in later in life. They typically look flat with a curved ridge on the top and are divided into sections called cusps. The number of cusps varies from person to person, usually for genetic reasons. They also have three roots that come out to embed themselves in the gumline. The main function of molars is to grind food during chewing.


Premolars are an interesting concept because while they are similar in structure to molars, their function is more suited to the role of canines. That is because, according to Wikipedia, the first set of premolars have a buccal cup that is sharp enough to resemble the prehensile teeth found in other carnivorous animals.  The second set of premolars is less sharp than the first, giving it a transitional appearance. They also differ from molars because instead of 3 roots at the bottom of the tooth, there are only two.


Canines, according to some dentists, consider it a “cornerstone” of the mouth because of their location. They separate the premolars from the incisors and are unique in that they have their own dual function.  While their primary purpose is to tear food, it can also assist in chewing. They are the longest type of tooth in the mouth with a single cusp on the surface and one long root. This is another prehensile tooth that resembles others found in carnivorous animals.


Incisors are the sharpest tooth of the bunch according to dentists. They are the most visible of teeth, being in the front of the teeth and appear to be square or rectangular because they are more wide than tall. However, it would be foolish to underestimate them. They can cut food to pieces much more efficiently than the others and have sharp edges like small chisels. They are powerful little guys and if their enamel wears down it can decrease that power over time.

dentists, anatomy, toothConclusion

All of our teeth have a part to play, whether that involves the breaking down of food, speaking clearly, or to use as a last-minute defense tactic. If we keep them healthy, they can last longer and we can have happier and healthier lives. All of them make up an important whole and represent different stages of our lives. So, take care of them, and recognize how crucial they are to our daily lives. Take it from dentists who had to study the anatomy of teeth and see a variety of them every day.

If you are looking for a Dentist in Austin, Texas feel free to visit our site at

Scroll to Top