Incisor Teeth, or incisors for short, are located at the very front of your mouth, making them the first thing people see when you smile. They are responsible for cutting through food. In this article, we will provide a breakdown of your 8 incisors – what they are, where they’re located, and what their purpose is. We’ll also provide information on how to care for them properly!
What are the Incisor Teeth?
Your incisors are the 8 teeth visible at the front of your smile. They are responsible for shearing (aka cutting) through food, and as such have a chisel-like shape. This cutting tooth surface is known as your incisal edge. Animals that are herbivores, or primarily eat plants, have incisors that are longer and sharper than those of carnivores, or meat-eaters.
There are 4 types of incisor teeth in humans:
Maxillary (Upper) Central incisors
These are the two teeth located in the middle of your upper jaw and are typically the most visible tooth when you smile. On average this tooth is 16mm in length, with the crown (top visible part of the tooth) being 6 mm and the root (part in the jaw bone) being 10 mm.
All teeth are given teeth numbers for identification purposes. For the purposes of this article the universal teeth numbering system, the American teeth numbering system will be used. There is also the World Dental Federation numbering system. In adults, the maxillary central incisors are teeth number 8 (right tooth) and 9 (left tooth). In children, these are teeth E (right tooth) and F (left tooth).
Adult upper central incisors typically erupt in the mouth (grow into your mouth) at the age of 7-8 while baby upper central incisors erupt between 8-12 months.
Maxillary (Upper) Later incisors
These are the two teeth located next to your maxillary central incisors on either side. These teeth are very similar to the maxillary central incisors, except they are just a little bit smaller.
In adults, the maxillary lateral incisors are teeth number 7 (right tooth) and 10 (left tooth). In children, these are teeth D (right tooth) and G (left tooth).
Adult upper lateral incisors typically erupt in the mouth at the age of 8-9 while baby upper lateral incisors erupt between 9-13 months.
Mandibular (Lower) Central incisors
The lower mandibular incisors are the two teeth located in the middle of your lower jaw.
In adults, the mandibular central incisors are teeth number 24 (left tooth) and 25 (right tooth). In children, these are teeth O (left tooth) and P (right tooth).
Adult lower central incisors typically erupt in the mouth at the age of 6-7 while baby lower central incisors erupt between 6-10 months.
Mandibular (Lower) Later incisors
The lower mandibular lateral incisors are the two teeth located next to your mandibular central incisors on either side.
In adults, the mandibular central incisors are teeth number 23 (left tooth) and 26 (right tooth). In children, these are teeth N (left tooth) and Q (right tooth).
Adult lower lateral incisors typically erupt in the mouth at the age of 7-8 while baby lower lateral incisors erupt between 10-16 months.
Anatomy of Incisor Teeth
Like all teeth, incisors have two main parts: the crown and the root.
- Crown: The crown is the part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth. As discussed previously, incisors have a chisel-like structure on their crowns, known as an incisal edge
- Root: The root is the part of the tooth that is embedded in the jawbone. Incisors typically have one root, while molars have two or three roots.
Each tooth is composed of three main parts: enamel, dentin, and pulp.
- Enamel: The enamel is the hardest part of the tooth and is what gives the tooth its white color. It is also the hardest substance in the human body. Its function is to protect the tooth from chewing and biting forces.
- Dentin: Dentin is a hard, yellowish material that makes up the majority of the tooth. Its function is to support the enamel and protect the pulp from bacteria.
- Pulp: The pulp is the innermost part of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. Its function is to provide nutrients and sensation to the tooth.
How to Keep Your Teeth Clean
Your incisors, just like every other tooth, are vital to proper oral health and it is important to take care of them! Not cleaning them properly can lead to cavities, gum disease, and eventually tooth loss.
Here are a few tips on how to clean your incisor teeth:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste: Flouride is a mineral that helps to remineralize your teeth and prevent cavities. Be sure to brush all teeth surfaces, including near the gum line, and pay attention to your back teeth. The most frequently missed locations.
- Floss ATLEAST every day (But recommended twice a day): Flossing removes plaque and germs from between your teeth, helping to prevent cavities between teeth. Be sure to hug the curve of each tooth as you floss and go slightly under the gumline.
- Visit the dentist every six months: Regular dental visits are important in order to catch any problems early and to keep your teeth healthy! They can also provide cleanings that are more thorough than what you can do at home.
The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.
No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.