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Anterior Teeth

Kate, Dental Technology | Originally Published: 2/15/2018

Ever wonder what the purposes of the teeth in the front of your mouth are for – besides making your smile pretty? Take a look at what else they do!

In order to understand what anterior teeth are, lets first lets define what anterior means:

Merriam-Webster defines anterior as “situated before or toward the front.” This is exactly what anterior teeth are – the teeth in the most front of the mouth.

Due to their location, these are the teeth most seen when someone smiles. Usually, the maxillary teeth are the most visible when someone smiles, but some people have anterior mandibular teeth that show a lot, too!

So, besides making your smile pretty, what are the names and functions of anterior teeth? Anterior teeth are the 12 teeth that make of up of maxillary and mandibular central incisors, lateral incisors, and canines (cuspids). As pictured below, you can see the teeth with their corresponding names!

Anterior Teeth

Anterior teeth have a primary purpose of cutting and tearing food. The four central teeth have incisal edges, thus being called incisors! Their purpose is to cut food. The last anterior teeth have another purpose. The canine, or cuspid, is a sharp, pointed tooth that is used to tear food. These teeth are often enlarged in carnivores due to their consumption of meat.

The anterior teeth are also important for speech. Think about when you say a word that starts with “th-”, “v-”, or “f-”. Your anterior teeth are very much in use! How hard would it be to speak without them? You wouldn’t even be able to say that last sentence! Or this one!

Next time, we’ll cover posterior teeth!

About The Author

Kate is a Senior Dental Prosthodontics Technology student. She is currently working towards earning her A.S. degree. Kate discovered this field while working for a dentist in Beverly Hills. In her free time, she likes to cook, bake, travel, be outdoors, draw, knit, and things of the sort.