Chances are that you already know what tooth number one is, but do you know what tooth number two is? Chances are even greater that if your dentist tells you that you need to have a crown on tooth 24, you won’t really know what he or she means unless you’ve had multiple crowns before or have some experience with tooth numbering chart systems in the past. To avoid confusion and help make sure that your dentist knows exactly which teeth need to be treated, it’s important to be familiar with these numbering systems.
Baby Teeth – Lost Between Ages 6 and 12
Baby teeth are important. For example, they aid in speech development and provide a blueprint for permanent teeth that will follow. It’s best to keep your baby teeth around as long as possible – at least until your permanent teeth start coming in. However, it’s normal for some kids to lose their baby teeth prematurely. That said, there are still techniques you can use to make sure your kid doesn’t lose too many (or any) of these vital power chains. And if those techniques fail, don’t worry – we’ve included a tooth numbering chart at the end of this post so you can better understand what’s going on with your kid’s mouth. Don’t wait another minute! Learn how to get them to keep their teeth longer! You’ll be glad you did.
Second Molars, also known as Molars
With proper care, your first set of molars should last you a lifetime—they’re known as wisdom teeth because they generally come in when you’re older and supposedly wiser. But if you have second molars or third molars (the technical term for wisdom teeth), then you know firsthand that sometimes it feels like your wisdom is falling out rather than coming in. Ouch! If a tooth becomes infected or injured, have a dentist remove it and replace it with a dental implant.
First Premolars, also known as First Bicuspids
The first premolars are often referred to as bicuspids and their job is similar to that of molars. The bicuspids appear in pairs, one on each side of your mouth. While they aren’t usually as large or as strong as molars, they play an important role in helping you chew food. First premolars sometimes contain deciduous teeth, which can be replaced by permanent teeth when they fall out. They also help anchor power chains (which we’ll talk about shortly) in position when our jawbones are still forming. Permanent teeth may come in at different times and not always in pairs; it’s not uncommon for there to be a space between two bicuspids due to shifting teeth during development!
Canines (or Cuspids)
The canines are located in front of your lateral incisors, or outside teeth. Their namesake is their long canine shape. You have two canines on either side of your mouth. They’re named after dogs, naturally—the Latin word for dog is canis and these teeth are named after them. Canines don’t have a power chain connecting them; they operate independently. On average, you have four of these visible canines at any time in your life.
Wisdom Teeth – The Third Molars
Wisdom teeth are usually extracted because they are impacted, meaning they aren’t fully formed and can’t erupt properly into place. Typically, wisdom teeth aren’t painful until they begin to grow and impact other teeth, so if you have them, it might be smart to have them removed before you experience problems. Although most people end up having their wisdom teeth pulled in their late teens or early 20s, many patients have them removed at an older age—sometimes much older—after developing complications that led a dentist to recommend extraction. For example, some patients will develop gum disease around their wisdom teeth because these teeth don’t fit as well in our mouths as other molars do; inflammation and soreness often lead dentists to recommend removal for treatment.