Teeth AnatomyThe tooth anatomy is an interesting but challenging topic that demands the respect of any health science student or professional. The human teeth are quite special because they grow twice during an adult’s lifespan, are essential structures for the mechanical digestion of food, and support certain facial features.
Adult dentition consists of thirty-two teeth that share some common anatomical features and are classified into four groups:
In this page, we are going to study each one of the above types, learn how they are numbered, and understand the various anatomical parts of teeth.
Teeth Names & Numbers
There are thirty-two teeth in total in the oral cavity of an adult with a healthy dentition. One half, or sixteen, are embedded in the maxilla, while the lower half are situated within the mandible. The name of teeth on each arcade is self-explanatory - the top sixteen are named ‘maxillary teeth’, while the bottom half are named ‘mandibular teeth’. Each arcade is a mirror of its counterpart, containing corresponding teeth types.
The teeth on each row, or arcade, are divided into four groups; named as follows from the dental midline outwards:
- Incisors (4) - central incisors, lateral incisors
- Canines (2)
- Premolars (4) - first premolars, followed by the second premolars
- Molars (6) - first molars, then second molars, and finally the third (wisdom tooth) molars
Tackle the following quiz to learn the names of teeth.
For simplification purposes, dental professionals use numbering systems to identify the various teeth. The teeth are numbered 1 to 32; superior right to left, then inferior left to right.
Watch the following teeth video to find out more about the four groups and their numbering.
Types of Teeth
In addition to the specific naming and numbering, dental anatomy is also unique in the possible types of teeth and their respective numbers. Children have twenty teeth, called deciduous or milk teeth, between six months and six years of age. This set is subsequently replaced by the permanent dentition of thirty-two teeth in adolescence and adulthood. Read the following articles to find out more details about the two types of human teeth.
The four groups of teeth are not identical, but they all share a typical and general tooth anatomy, as follows:
- Pulp chamber
- Neck of tooth
- Dental root
- Root canal
Arteries & Veins
The blood supply of the teeth originates from the maxillary artery, which is the largest terminal branch of the external carotid artery. It is responsible for supplying the deep structures of the face.
The specific arteries carrying blood to the teeth travel through the root canal and have the following names:
- Anterior superior alveolar arteries
- Posterior superior alveolar arteries
- Inferior alveolar arteries
The veins of the teeth follow the arteries, having similar names. They drain into the pterygoid plexus or the facial vein.
The nerves supplying the teeth also accompany the arteries through the root canals and originate from the maxillary and mandibular branches of the trigeminal, or fifth, cranial nerve. Near the teeth, these major nerves give rise to the following branches:
- Superior alveolar nerves
- Inferior alveolar nerves