The Incisor Teeth And Its Functions – Let’s Talk Teeth

Let’s talk teeth. Teeth are the densest substance found within the entire human body. Teeth are very complex and perform many bodily functions to help keep us healthy and happy… and of course, able to eat.

Teeth are vital for chewing, eating, digesting, talking, and they also can determine a lot about a person’s overall health and wellbeing.

There are four types of teeth and each type of tooth plays an essential role in our everyday ability to function.

the 4 kinds of teeth


Besides the wisdom teeth, there are four major teeth types in the found inside of the human mouth. The four types of teeth in the human mouth are incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

So, what do these four types of teeth do?


1. Molars

Molars are one of the main teeth in the dentition. Molars are also known as posterior teeth and are made up of two groups – premolars and molars. Molars play a very specific role in the function of our dental cavity.

Molars have a primary function of breaking food down. Posterior molars were developed in mammals to grind plant foods such as grains and fruits. Wisdom teeth are actually considered molars (the teeth farthest to the back) and they are often removed in adulthood due to crowding issues.

tooth sample

2. Premolars

The premolars are the first set of molars and they are expressly slimmer than other molars in the mouth. The premolars are smaller because they are placed directly behind the canine teeth. What are the canine teeth you might ask?

woman showing her teeth

3. Canines

Canine teeth are also referred to as a cuspid or eyetooth in mammals, and they are typically single-rooted teeth that have evolved over the years to tear food apart.

Humans have the smallest canine teeth of all mammals and this allows for rotary chewing.

woman with great smile

4. Incisor

The Incisors are made up of the middlemost four teeth on the upper and lower sides of the mouth. Incisors are used for tearing and cutting food. Incisors usually have one root as opposed to molars, which typically have two or three roots.

let's learn all about incisors


There are two different types of incisor teeth. These two different categories of incisors are central incisors and lateral incisors. Incisors are the first teeth to grow in babies as well as the first adult teeth to erupt.

Baby teeth, also referred to as deciduous teeth, eventually become what we know as central incisors. Between the ages of six and seven is when these baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth.

Also, around the ages seven or eight is when the permanent lateral incisors make their appearance. Lateral incisors are located on the right and left sides of the central incisors in the center of the jaw.

The largest incisors in the group are located in the jaw’s front and center most location. They are called the maxillary central incisors that are the most visible teeth when a person smiles.

Incisors are absolutely essential in the proper function of the mouth and dental cavity.

woman biting her hair

1. Anatomical Formation

Incisors have a sharp cutting edge similar to that of a scoop and they have no occlusal surface. The four lower incisors are naturally smaller than the four upper incisors. The incisors are deemed a part of the anterior tooth category.

Adult humans usually have ground down incisors while the incisal edge is split into two incisions in adolescents. A structure featuring the shape of a hump called the tuberculum is where the incisors form their two marginal ridges on the backside of the tooth.

The central incisors usually feature three notches right after erupting, but over time the incisors undergo wear and tear through the form of tooth erosion and they flatten out.

Incisor roots are relatively weak compared to the roots of say, molars.

The lower incisors are actually the smallest sized teeth in the human mouth and their surfaces are smooth and have a basic triangular shape. You can notice the curvature feature in the forms of the lingual surfaces that are also triangular but a little thinner.

The lower incisors are extremely fragile and are not able to be considered for replacement by crown. The crown base is rather narrow, and the necks are pointed and narrow.

young girl eating a green apple

2. Functions and Tasks

Some may say that the most important function of incisors is aesthetics related, but these vital teeth offer a huge function in cutting and biting food. The incisors work as small knifes - but with no chewing surface.

The incisors are the anterior teeth of the bunch. They are the primary teeth you see when people smile, laugh, and talk. They are used for cutting and gnawing and stem for the Latin word ‘incīd(ere)’ meaning to incise.

Incisors are the primary teeth used for tearing and shredding flesh and food apart. They are ideal for biting into apples and hard-surfaced fruit. They are the first set of teeth that food encounters and prepare the food to come in contact with the other types of teeth that complete food ingestion.

The incisors provide a huge support system for the lips and face. Teeth help form the overall outer appearance of your face because your teeth hold up the sides of your lips. Imagine what your face might look like if you had no teeth!

Your incisors also play a big part in being able to talk. The way your tongue hits your teeth plays a huge role in making different syllables and being able to speak normally. Incisors help create the ‘oo’ and ‘th’ sounds like in the word ‘tooth.’

As mentioned before, incisors are the first teeth people see when they look at you. Incisors help guide your jaw when you close your mouth as well as create a beautiful smile and appearance. It cannot be stressed enough how much these eight teeth help create a well-rounded mouth and dental cavity.

the complete breakdown of a tooth


As small as teeth may seem, they have a lot going on. The anatomy of a tooth consists of a crown and one root in the case of an incisor. The crown is the visible and functional part of the tooth that is visible to the human eye.

The root is composed of everything that is not visible to the eye that supports and fastens the tooth into the jawbone of the head. The jaw is connected to the root by fibrous ligament called the periodontal ligament or membrane.

All teeth generally have three layers – the enamel, the dentine and the pulp. The enamel is definitely the most well-known layer of a tooth and you may hear dentists talk about the wear of your enamel or needing to build up the enamel to become stronger and more resilient.

The enamel is actually the hardest tissue found in the human body and is composed of wholly inorganic material. The enamel is white and is made mostly of calcium phosphate, an extremely dense mineral.

The dentine is the layer underneath the tooth’s enamel and is considered the second layer of the tooth. Dentine creates the bulk of each tooth and reaches also the entire length of the tooth and is made of material similar to bone.

Dentine is a little softer than the enamel and can become sensitive if the enamel wears down to a certain point. The dentine is covered by a multiverse of narrow canals that conduct stimuli from outside to inside.

These tubes contain nerve cells that extend from the bone marrow in the dental cavity. Dentine can be a source of tooth pain as they are the canals that respond to changes in temperature. Pulp is the third and innermost layer of the tooth.

Pulp is the softer and living inner structure of the tooth. The pulp is where the blood vessels and nerves circulate through the teeth. Pulp extends from the crown to the tip of the root of the tooth.

tips to take care of your teeth


brushing teeth daily

Dental health is extremely important. Especially as people age and go through the normal wear and tear of eating, grinding, biting and other forms of tooth erosion.

Brushing and flossing teeth daily are the two main things people can do to take care of their teeth and ensure a healthy mouth biome. Dentists will tell you that brushing after every meal is truly the best way to take care of your teeth.

Flossing gets rid of food and plaque between your teeth and reaches those little crevices where food particles hide, and toothbrushes cannot find. If plaque stays on teeth for too long, it becomes tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.

Mouthwash is also a wonderful tool to ensure a healthy mouth and keep the breath extra fresh. Rinse with antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day to kill unwanted bacteria and prevent early gum disease.

A healthy diet with low amounts of sugar can help prevent cavities and unwanted tooth decay or disease. Hard candies, cookies, sugary gum and chips all lead to tooth decay because starchy foods get stuck to teeth.

Visit Your Dentist For Optimal Incisor And Mouth Health

Of course, the best way to care for your incisors and the overall health of your mouth is to visit your dentist at least two times a year, every 6 months, for a professional cleaning and inspection.

This way, your teeth will stay optimally clean, healthy, and ready to help you face the day.

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