Different Types of Teeth, Their Functions, and Why Regular Cleanings are Important
Your mouth is a complex puzzle, and its pieces are designed to work and fit together. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your adult or permanent teeth strong, clean, and healthy so they can perform their intended functions. To reinforce the importance of good oral hygiene, the care team at Wilmot Family Dentistry thought it might be helpful to review the types of teeth we have, along with their roles.
The incisors are the first teeth to be seen when smiling with an open mouth. They’re not just there to make your smile look more appealing—the incisors are the teeth used to bite and tear food into chunks, and they allow you to speak clearly when they’re properly aligned. The best way to care for your incisors is to:
- Floss and brush regularly
- Wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports
- Visit us twice a year for a professional cleaning
With proper dental care from one of our experienced, compassionate dentists, you’ll keep your incisors in good shape for years to come.
Some people call them fangs, but they’re formally known as the canine teeth. These are the second type of teeth to develop during childhood, and because they’re the sharpest teeth in your mouth, they help tear food apart. To care for your canines, take the following steps:
- Floss regularly to keep foods from being stuck between the teeth
- Don’t open packages with your canine teeth, as it can cause serious damage
Most importantly, you should get a dental check-up every six months. Call or click to schedule an appointment today.
Thirdly, we’ll discuss the molars. They serve a crucial purpose: they help you grind, break down, and chew food. If you’ve ever known someone with painful or missing molars, it’s easy to see how the condition can affect a person’s quality of life. To maintain your molars:
- Floss in between these teeth, even though they’re further back. It can be hard to reach them, but there are a few tools to make the process easier.
- Remove as much bacteria and food residue as possible with regular brushing.
And, don’t forget to schedule your biannual checkup!
Often referred to as the wisdom teeth, the third molars are the last teeth to emerge; they typically don’t appear until early adulthood. Third molars are designed to break down food and aid in digestion. Keep in mind that:
- Some patients may have enough room for the third molars to come in naturally, but dentists often recommend having them removed if they cause oral pain during their emergence
- Floss and brush thoroughly to prevent bacterial infections
As your third molars are coming in, it’s important to visit and communicate with your dentist regularly. We’ll ensure that your wisdom teeth are coming in safely, and if not, we’ll extract them as painlessly as possible.
The average adult has 32 teeth, but in some cases, a person may have more. Known as supernumerary teeth, they typically appear in the form of an extra canine, molar, or incisor. It’s quite common for these teeth to be removed due to the oral overcrowding they can cause.
While many assume that natal teeth are just baby teeth by another name, that’s not the case. Baby teeth don’t emerge until children are most of the way through infancy and into toddlerhood. However, newborns are sometimes delivered with teeth in their mouths, which are known as natal teeth. The condition is very rare, and these teeth have few to no roots. That’s why most dentists recommend removing them as soon as they’re found.
What Happens When I Don’t Get My Teeth Cleaned?
Regular professional cleanings help us detect small issues before they become big problems, and they can even prevent certain conditions. However, if you don’t get frequent cleanings, you may suffer from:
- Cavities. Tooth decay and cavities can appear underneath built-up plaque and tartar that’s difficult to remove. Decay may also occur between the teeth.
- Gingivitis. Also known as gum disease, gingivitis occurs when tartar and plaque irritate the sensitive tissues around the gum line. As the condition worsens, pockets form around and between the teeth, allowing plaque, food residue, and bacteria to get in and cause additional inflammation. Regular cleanings will help patients avoid the pain of gum disease.
- Bad breath. Brown tartar, stains, and harmful plaque are made of bacteria, and it’s hard to remove it. The built-up residue can cause bad breath that won’t go away on its own. If you’ve used gum, mints, and mouthwash but still have bad breath, a professional cleaning may help.
- Tooth loss. When patients neglect their oral health, they’ll eventually face tooth loss. Hardened tartar and plaque create pockets, which can eventually lead to the loss of affected teeth.
- Increased oral cancer risk. During a cleaning, your dentist will check for oral abnormalities, which can indicate the earliest stages of cancer.
- Prenatal complications. Because mothers-to-be are already dealing with hormonal fluctuations, they’re more susceptible to gum disease and other conditions. Not only can oral infections spread through the bloodstream and affect an unborn child, but they can also lead to low birth weight and prematurity. Routine cleanings, however, may work to prevent many of these complications.
Poor dental hygiene is linked to various conditions, such as stroke, hypertension, and heart attack. Anything in the mouth is quickly absorbed into the blood, and if your oral hygiene is lacking, your health will suffer.
Trust Wilmot Family Dental for All Your Oral Care Needs
Humans have several kinds of teeth, and it’s important to care for them all. Keep your pearly whites healthy by eating a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco use, and scheduling regular dental check-ups. With a healthy set of teeth, you’ll be able to eat better, speak confidently, and smile wider.
For all your dental care concerns and questions, Wilmot Family Dental has the professionalism and experience to give you the answers you need. We’re ready to provide safe, effective service in a relaxing, welcoming environment. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today!