Overview of Tooth Structure

Our tooth structure is absolutely intriguing. One of the things I thought was unique about teeth is that in “teeth-land”, we do get a second chances. All human beings, with the exceptions of medical rarities, have two sets of natural teeth in our lifetime.

Structure @ www.sharepointgeoff.com

Structure @ www.sharepointgeoff.com

Now let’s take a look at these two sets of teeth, and explore how our teeth serves us.

First up, let’s talk about numbers. We are all supposed to have 20 baby teeth and 32 permanent teeth.

The first set of teeth is known as the primary or milk or deciduous teeth.

Primary teeth is important in the process of teeth development because it helps to provide

  1. space for permanent teeth to erupt
  2. structures that help children learn to speak and chew

Of course, not forgetting that the infant jaw is generally too tiny to hold all 32 tooths at one go, hence settling for a more manageable 20.


Baby teeth usually emerges around 8 months and should be completed by 33 months of age. Then, they tend to start falling out by 6 years of age, usually starting from the order which the teeth are first grown.

Most children lose all their baby teeth by 13 years old, and are replaced by permanent teeth.


Most adults have 32 permanent teeth. They generally grow slower than baby teeth. These teeth can be be generally categorized into 5 different types – incisors, canine, premolar, molar and third molars.


Types Location Function
Incisor (x8) Middlemost four teeth on the upper and lower jaw Helps with the biting
Canine (x4) Pointed teeth just after the incisors Helps with the tearing and holding on of food
Premolar (x8) Between the canine and the molars Have 2 raised points to help with the crushing of food.
Molar (x8) Bigger, flat teeth situated behind the premolars Grinds and pulps food
Third Molar orWisdom Tooth  (x4) Situated after the molar, furthest inward of jaw.The last to erupt, usually at the age of 18-20 years.Some lucky ones don’t even grow them. Helps to further grinds and pulps food.However, wisdom tooth are usually surgically removed to avoid displacement of other teeth.