How Size and Shape of Teeth Determine Their Function

The size and shape of teeth play a crucial role in determining their functions.


are designed to cut food without exerting too much force, while canines are used to cut and tear food with more strength.


hold the food in place, while the lingual cusps shred it and the molars grind it. The permanent dentition is composed of 32 teeth, including four incisors, two canines (or cusps), four premolars (or bicuspids), four molars, and two wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) in each mandible.

If wisdom teeth have been removed, 28 teeth will remain. The mouth is an incredibly efficient food processing system. Every time you bite into something, your teeth come together to tear, grind and crush it. Each type of tooth has its own important role in the chewing process.

When all the teeth work together as a unit, food is transformed into a soft substance that can be easily swallowed. The first premolar is often the tooth that is removed in orthodontic procedures to make room for crowded teeth to move into place. Connective tissues attach the periodontal ligament to the root of the tooth, connecting it to the gums and jaw bone (alveolar). Some people may not fully develop third molars or may have them in different sizes and shapes.

Babies and toddlers only have 20 teeth due to their smaller jaws, while adults have 32 (or 28 if their wisdom teeth have been removed). The fibers at the other end attach the tooth root to the maxillary (alveolar) bone and act as shock absorbers, allowing the tooth to withstand biting and chewing forces. The cingulate is the rest of the fourth nipple and may have a hole where it meets the lingual surface of the tooth. Maxillary lateral incisors can sometimes be pin-shaped and are referred to as “peg-shaped laterals”.

This is where blood vessels and nerves from external tissue enter the tooth. The root of a tooth descends below the gumline into either upper or lower jaws, anchoring it in place. It contains blood vessels that supply blood and nutrients to keep it alive, as well as nerves that allow it to detect temperature changes. The pulp chamber is located below the dentin and extends from the crown to the tip of the root. When they first appear, incisors have three nipples or protrusions on their incisal border which are remnants of lobes from which they developed.

Eloise Cuttitta
Eloise Cuttitta

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