How Are Your Teeth Like Four Different Tools?

If you know the functions of tools such as scissors, forks, nutcrackers, and grinders, you will understand how marvelously specialized your teeth are.

Although your 20 primary, or baby, teeth first appeared when you were about six months old, your permanent teeth (32) started to grow out when you were about six or seven years old. The rest will appear when you are between 17 and 21.

Your permanent teeth are divided into four different types, of different sizes and shapes. But each type has a special use, like the special use each tool has in the home or workshop. These four types are incisors; canines, or cuspids; bicuspids, or premolars; and molars.

The incisors are your eight front teeth. Four are in your upper jaw and four in your lower jaw. Incisors work like a knife or scissors. As you close your jaws, they bite off large pieces of food.

The canines, or cuspids, are the four strong, pointed teeth, one each to the right and left of the incisors. You use your canines much like you use a fork, to tear larger pieces of food into smaller pieces.

The eight bicuspids, or premolars, are next to the canines, two behind each canine. Bicuspids work like a nutcracker, crushing food into smaller and smaller pieces.

The twelve molars are at the rear of your mouth, three next to each set of bicuspids. Because molars have strong, flat surfaces, they work like a grinder, mashing food into thin, pulpy masses.

Although most people grow only two sets of teeth in a lifetime, there have been actual cases of people growing a third set late in life!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

5 thoughts on “How Are Your Teeth Like Four Different Tools?”

  1. You wrote: “Although most people grow only two sets of teeth in a lifetime, there have been actual cases of people growing a third set late in life!”
    Recently I lost four teeth and I am denying replacement with artificial teeth. I had the clear vision that they might grow a third time. I have heard that in China exist a village where people know how to grow third teeth. Do you know something concrete about it? Or any other case?
    I am absolutely sure about it. Similar things happen to me when I had Fibromyalgia and the med. doctor told me that there is no cure. But I was sure that I could heal myself and indeed I healed myself completely. The same happened with an inguinal hernia. They told me that only surgery could repair this. I rejected surgery and healed myself completely with a treatment I found out myself. The same happened when I broke my leg and foot and the doctors said that I need surgery. I rejected this and now my leg/foot is completely healed without surgery.
    So I am also convinced that growing third teeth is possible and I am investigating about it.
    Any hint will be appreciated!
    BeiYin

  2. Growing a 3rd set of teeth will mean more business for dentists like me. Let’s hope scientists are successful in this research.

  3. A follow-up article could be appreciated. I guess people are really interested in this third set of teeth and some are really not aware of this. Additional study, cases and research on this could be helpful; or if there’s a way on how people can grow their third set of teeth.

  4. Reported cases of growing a third set of teeth may be attributed to hypodontia. Rest assured that researches are always progressing towards the answer to our questions.

  5. In Canada they have developed an electronic device that can grow new teeth.It uses a frequency similar to the ultrasound units and massages the gum area with probably a special transducer.Treatment time span is I think for 20 minutes a day.Thanks,Van

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