Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Oral health centre

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is supported by Colgate.
Select An Article

Your teeth from birth to adulthood

Baby teeth

The child's mouth contains 20 temporary teeth, called primary teeth, baby teeth or deciduous teeth, consisting of the following teeth types:

  • Four second molars
  • Four first molars
  • Four cuspids (also called canine or eye teeth)
  • Four lateral incisors
  • Four central incisors

For each set of four teeth, two teeth are located in the upper arch (one on each side of the mouth) and two are located in the lower arch (one on each side of the mouth).

Permanent teeth

The adult mouth contains 32 permanent teeth, consisting of the following teeth types:

  • Four third molars (also called wisdom teeth)
  • Four second molars (also called 12-year molars)
  • Four first molars (also called six-year molars)
  • Four second bicuspids (also called second premolars)
  • Four first bicuspids (also called first premolars)
  • Four cuspids (also called canine or eye teeth)
  • Four lateral incisors
  • Four central incisors

Teeth functions

Your teeth are used for:

  • Biting and tearing. The central incisors and lateral incisors are primarily used for biting and cutting and canine teeth are primarily used for tearing food.
  • Grinding and crushing. The premolars, molars and wisdom teeth are primarily used for chewing and grinding food.

Internal structure of teeth

Each tooth consists of three main parts: the crown, the neck and root.

  • The crown is the visible part of the tooth; it is the portion that lies above the gum tissue. A protective layer called enamel covers the crown.
  • The neck is the area of the tooth between the crown and the root.
  • The root is the portion of the tooth that extends through the gum and into the bone of the jaw.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 17, 2012

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
woman holding hair
Natural help for dry or damaged hair
woman in bikini
Get ready for swimsuit season
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
Immune-boosting foods
The role of diet
79x79_not_good_for_you.jpg
18 secrets men want you to know
boy looking at broccoli
Quick tips for feeding picky eaters
hamburger and fries
A guide for beginners
salmon dinner
A diet to boost your mood & energy
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting