TMJ Guide

What Kinds Of Teeth Are Designed
For Grinding Up Food?

The first sign of human teeth usually occurs after about six months of a baby’s age. The twenty primary teeth are called deciduous or the milk teeth. These primary teeth are gradually replaced by permanent teeth. By age twenty, most adults will have a full set of thirty two teeth.


Teeth design for grinding food


While the main purpose of teeth is to chew and grind up the food we eat, our teeth also provides shape to our face and help us to speak clearly. In order to properly facilitate the main function of the teeth – i.e. grinding of food, the teeth are uniquely designed to serve their specific purposes. Our teeth can be divided into the following based on the way they are used in grinding of food –


  • Incisors and canines – used to shear and tear up food
  • Premolars and molars – used to crush and grind the food further

The shape and sizes of our teeth are typically of ideal dimensions to help it to carry out its purposes of grinding food that we consume. Additionally, the teeth enamel – the hard substance that covers the tooth – is the hardest substance in the entire body. The hard enamel of the teeth greatly aid in the grinding process of food in our mouths. The upper set of teeth gets its support from the upper jaw or the maxilla; and the lower set of teeth is supported by the lower jaw – the mandible. These jaw bones along with the facial muscles and the nerves offer the requisite mechanism for the entire process of food grinding that takes place whenever we bite into our food.


‘Teeth grinding’ or wrong bite can damage design of teeth


Our grinding teeth are uniquely structured into – the crown (composed of the enamel and formed into well shaped outer cusps); below the crown lie the minute fissures that are connected to the amelodentinal junction; just below this is the dentine which covers the pulp chamber within. The pulp chamber contains the root canal and a complex system of pulp vein, artery, the septum and nerves. This entire structure of teeth is designed to play its part in the process of grinding up food.


Wrong positioning of teeth (because of incorrect bite) or chronic cases of teeth grinding can severely damage the structure of teeth by gradually eroding the crown and exposing the dentin and pulp within to infection.


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