Know Your Body
Understading Teeth and its functions
by Dr. Gautam Govitrikar
Every human being has 2 sets: Deciduous/Primary/Baby aka “milk” teeth and Permanent teeth
Types of teeth and functions:
1) Incisors: These are the teeth in the very front, 4 in each jaw. They are flat with a sharp edge and are responsible for breaking the food into small pieces making it easy to be broken down further by the back teeth.
The primary ones start erupting around 6 months of age and shed between 6-8 years of age and replaced by the permanent ones.
2) Canines: The pointed arrow head shaped teeth, 3rd in position, are called the “Canines” aka “fangs”.
They are responsible for tearing food down like the incisors.
Along with the first permanent molar, they are an important landmark in the Occlusion aka bite of people. More about that later. These are typically least affected by caries .
3) Molars: These are the main grinders of food and in my opinion the most important teeth and yet the most neglected ones.
Children have 4 primary molars in each arch and adults have 6.
The 3rd molar aka wisdom tooth is often “impacted” which means it does not erupt fully because it is at an angle compared to the other teeth or locked in bone.
4) Premolars: These are present only in the permanent group and are 4 in each arch. They help the molars in grinding teeth.
Functions of teeth:
4) Self esteem and confidence
5) Aid in facial expressions
6) Anti Ageing effect
Some points to note:
1) An important point to note is that the first permanent molar erupts without any teeth falling out around 6 years of age and are often hence mistaken to be “baby” teeth.
2) It is normal for the upper teeth to overlap the lower teeth all around. The vertical overlap is called OVERBITE and the horizontal overlap is called OVERJET.
3) The age at which milk teeth are lost and permanent teeth erupt is not fixed. It is always in a 2-3 year duration and varies for everyone.
4) Teeth erupt fully formed and don’t lose calcium unlike bones.
Dr.Gautam Govitrikar acquired his BDS from Nair Hospital Dental College, Mumbai in 2003. Subsequently he completed DMD degree from the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia USA in 2007. He was in private practice in Philadelphia and then New Jersey for 10 years. Simultaneously he was a faculty member at his alma mater, served on the Alumni Board and was also a CE speaker at the American Dental Association’s National Conference.
He has subsequently returned back home to Pune and has joined his father in their 49 year old family dental practice where he provides state of the art world class treatment including Root canals, Ceramic Crowns, Dental Implants etc.
You can connect with him on Twitter @Gautaamm
December 5, 2021