518 Te Atatu Road, Te Atatu Peninsula, 0610
518 Te Atatu Road, Atatu Peninsula, 0610
Call 09 834 6359

If you don’t already know how your tooth is structured, now’s the time to find out!

In this post, we explain the differences between the types of teeth and explain your tooth anatomy and function.

We also discover what happens when there is an issue with any one of the parts of your teeth. Read on to find out all about your teeth.

The different types of teeth

There are four different types of teeth: incisor, canine, premolar and molar. Let’s find out about the features of each individual type.


Your incisors are the four front teeth in both the top and bottom jaws. The two in the middle are called the central incisors, while the ones next to them are the lateral incisors.


The canine teeth are located next to the lateral incisors. There are two in the top jaw and two in the bottom jaw. They are the sharpest and longest teeth and are designed to tear food apart.


The premolars are found between the canines and molars. You’ll usually find two in each corner of the mouth. Premolars are good for tearing and crushing food.


The molars are located at the back of the mouth and are designed for chewing food. Adults may have up to 12 molars, though the third set of molars, often known as “wisdom teeth”, may be removed if they cause crowding or discomfort in the mouth.

The structure of teeth

Your teeth are made up of several different parts.

The portion that you can see in your mouth is the crown, while the roots extend below the gumline and hold the teeth in place.

The enamel is the hard covering on the outside of the crown — in fact, it’s the hardest substance in the human body! Although it’s robust, tooth enamel may be chipped because of an accident or eroded through over-vigorous brushing or consuming too much acidic food or drink.

It can get stained, especially if you are a smoker or you drink lots of tea, coffee or red wine. If this happens, whitening can restore the appearance of your smile.

Dentine is the next layer underneath the enamel. It has nerve fibres inside, so if it is exposed, you may suffer from sensitive teeth. Dentine is yellowish in colour, so it can make your teeth appear discoloured if the enamel has been worn away.

Cementum is a hard tissue that covers and protects the roots of your teeth, while the pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth that accommodates blood supply and nerves.

If the pulp becomes infected, for example if a cavity isn’t treated early, your dentist may perform root canal treatment to remove the infected pulp.

Finally, the periodontal ligament is a fibrous ligament surrounding the roots and connecting your teeth to your jaw bone.

Got any questions? See your local dentist in Te Atatu

If you’ve got any questions about your tooth anatomy or have concerns about any of the issues we’ve touched on here, come and see the team at Opal Dental.

We’re your local dentist for Te Atatu and provide a full range of dental services for everyone in the family.

Remember, we’re just a call away, so get in touch if you’d like to arrange a regular check-up or any other dental treatment to keep your smile healthy!

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