Incisor Tooth: Where Is It Located & What Is It Used For?
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Table of Contents
- What Are Incisor Teeth
- What Are Incisors For
- What Can Happen to Your Incisors
- Get Help to Align Your Incisor Teeth
Your incisors are the four frontmost teeth in your top arch and the four in your bottom jaw. When they are properly aligned, your top incisors will fit just slightly in front of your bottom ones.
Several types of misalignment can cause injury, damage, or infection to your incisors, so properly aligning these teeth is important to your smile.
What Are Incisor Teeth?
Adult humans have eight incisor teeth: four on the top and four on the bottom. The lateral incisors are those on the outer edges, while the central incisors are the teeth in the very center of your mouth. These are the frontmost teeth, which are thinner and sharper than other teeth, with a flat edge.
Sometimes, the incisors are called the anterior teeth since they exist foremost in the mouth. These teeth evolved to cut into food when you bite into it, and they help shred the food into smaller pieces.
Ideally, the incisors fit together to cleanly bite pieces of food. The top incisors will fit just slightly in front of the bottom incisors. However, many people have different types of malocclusions, or misalignments, so the incisors do not fit together. Various orthodontic treatments, including clear plastic aligners, braces, or retainers, can realign these teeth so you can avoid dental health issues and have a smile you are proud of.
What Are Incisors For?
The incisors are the most noticeable teeth when you smile. The top four incisors are part of the social six, or the front, top six teeth that are most prominent in the mouth when a person smiles or speaks. Although the social six get the most media attention, and the most cosmetic dental correction with veneers or braces, the bottom incisors are very important for your overall oral health.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your permanent incisors will come in at different points:
- Bottom central incisors: between 6 and 7 years old
- Bottom lateral incisors: between 7 and 8 years old
- Top central incisors: between 7 and 8 years old
- Top lateral incisors: between 8 and 9 years old
The age that childhood teeth are lost and adult or permanent teeth come in varies from child to child, but these teeth should begin to loosen around 6 years old. If there is a delay longer than a year, check with your child’s dentist.
When your incisors fit together, you are able to comfortably and safely bite into a wide range of foods, from sandwiches to apples. However, many people do not have incisors that fit together, which can create problems with biting into food.
You may bite into harder foods like carrots from the side because your front teeth hurt when you use them. Your teeth may shift over time, leaving a gap between them that can cause chipping or crowding together, which can make them harder to clean.
What Can Happen to Your Incisors?
Since the incisors are at the front of your mouth, they are at risk of certain types of damage, injuries, or infection, which other teeth may be less susceptible to.
If you bite into a very hard food like a nut or an ice cube, or if you have a tongue or lip piercing, you may chip your incisors. You may only remove a little of the edge of an incisor, which can cause the tooth to appear misshapen. You may also remove enough of the tooth that it hurts and exposes considerable dentin or even the root.
Your dentist will need to fix more severe chips. This is sometimes done with a veneer, but other times, a crown is used to protect the inside of your incisor.
Gingivitis or Receding Gums
The earliest stages of gum disease are considered gingivitis, when the gums become redder, inflamed, and painful. They may bleed more often when you brush and floss your teeth.
Receding gums are a sign of gum disease — both gingivitis and periodontitis. This may be more apparent in the incisors than other teeth, as they begin to appear longer than they did before.
Get Help to Align Your Incisor Teeth
If your incisors are misaligned, you may want to straighten them; however, many cosmetic options only target the social six, or your top six teeth, which will not fix any bite misalignment. Fortunately, there are several other options, like over-the-counter clear aligners with teledentistry support, which can improve your incisor bite.
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