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Incisors Teeth

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What are Incisors Teeth?

IVSAT 2024

The incisors are a set of chisel-shaped teeth located on the anterior part of the oral cavity. The term incisors were derived from the Latin word ‘incidere’, which means ‘to cut’. A basic understanding of human teeth not only includes the anatomy but also the alignment and positions of each type of tooth. In the case of humans, a deciduous set of teeth falls off, and a new permanent set of teeth replaces the primary set of teeth. The primary or milk teeth are found in children. However, mainly there are four types of teeth: canines, incisors, premolars, and molars. 


Here, we will learn about the incisor teeth functions, anatomy, and types.


Incisor Teeth Anatomy

The incisor teeth share a general tooth structure and anatomy. It will be easier to understand once you see the incisor teeth diagram. The incisor teeth are eight in number. All of them have a prominent crown and root. The crown is encased in an enamel covering, and the root is covered by cementum. The dentine, which covers the body of the incisor teeth, surrounds a central pulp cavity. This cavity extends into a pulp chamber that continues to the root canal.


A healthy adult has a set of 32 teeth,16 on each dental arch. The 8 incisors are located on either side of the midline of the dental arch. The incisors are located on the premaxilla and the mandible. This will be easier to picture once you see the incisor teeth diagram. Based on this, the incisors are classified into maxillary or mandibular incisors. Sometimes incisors are also classified based on their positions to the midline of the dental arch. The ones which are close to the midline are known as central incisor teeth. Whereas the ones away from the midline are known as lateral incisors. 


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Types of Incisor Teeth 

As stated above, based on their location, incisors are classified into various types. In this section, we will discuss the types of incisors. Maxillary central incisor teeth(2) are located on the upper jaw and are closest to the center of the lips to the midline of the dental arch. The maxillary lateral incisors(2) are also located on the premaxilla. However, they are situated laterally farther from the midline.


The lower jaw or the mandible also has two pairs of incisors, namely- mandibular central incisor and mandibular lateral incisors. The mandibular central incisor teeth(2) are located on the lower jaw and situated close to the center of the midline. Similarly, the mandibular lateral incisors are situated laterally far from the midline of the dental arch.

Based on the incisor teeth shape, the maxillary central incisors are larger than the lateral ones in both permanent and deciduous sets of teeth. However, this is vice-versa in the case of the mandibular incisors. There is also a significant difference in the length of the root of the central and lateral incisors in the case of permanent and deciduous dentition.   


Incisor Teeth Functions

The main function of the incisor teeth is cutting or shearing food. The incisor teeth shape and anatomy describe their function. This shearing or cutting action is enhanced further due to the location of the incisor teeth. The incisors form the most anterior set of teeth. During the occlusion of the mouth, the sharp incisal edges help in the shearing of the food. So the incisors tear down the food into smaller pieces which later helps in the mastication of the food by the premolars and molars. Apart from humans, various other animals also have some similar kinds of uses for their incisor teeth. In rodents, the incisors grow throughout their lifetime, so they have to wear them out by gnawing. The upper elephant incisor teeth are modified into long and curved tusks. In carnivores, the incisors are used to tear and grip the meat. This is all about the incisor teeth function.


Interesting Facts about Incisor Teeth

  • Did you know the pulp chamber of the maxillary lateral incisors is rounder than that of the maxillary lateral ones. They also have two pulp horns? 

  • Did you know the pulp chamber of the mandibular lateral incisor points initially has a wide labiolingual axis and three pulp horns?

  • Did you know the enamel on the topmost surface of your tooth is the hardest component of your whole body?

  • Did you know two people can never have an identical set of teeth, your teeth are as novel as your fingerprint?

  • Did you know tusks are an elephant incisor teeth utilized for digging for food and water, defence, and bearing and lifting?

  • Did you know besides incisors teeth, an elephant has four molars (six throughout the life of African ones) wherein one can weigh more than eight lb and grow 10-12 inches long?

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FAQs on Incisors Teeth

1. What are incisor teeth?

The incisors are the most visible eight frontal teeth of the mouth. There are four incisors on the top and four on the bottom, taking the total incisor eight in number. The primary purpose of these teeth is to take bites out of food.

2. What is the importance of incisor teeth?

The primary function of incisors is to cut and tear into food. However, the artistic vision of these anterior teeth is profoundly viewed as they are noticeable during smiling, chewing and communicating.

3. Can incisor teeth be filled?

Yes, incisor teeth can be filled; however, the filling used is different from the ones used for your back teeth. It is usually a tooth-coloured (white) filling that is applied for the process to maintain the aesthetic appearance of your anterior teeth.

4. How long do incisors take to come in?

The two bottom front teeth, the central incisors, are usually the first ones to appear. The four front upper teeth (central and lateral incisors) normally accompany them, 4 to 8 weeks later. And a month later, the two teeth flanking the bottom front teeth, i.e., the lower lateral incisors, appear.