The Permanent Tooth: An Overview

November 12, 2012

The Permanent Tooth: An Overview

Everyone remembers the time when they lose their first baby tooth and a new permanent tooth comes in. These teeth are supposed to be used for the rest of your life.

A permanent tooth is the last tooth to come into a person’s mouth. They are considered adult teeth and replace the primary/baby teeth of children. Unlike the original teething process which is often painful for young children, the primary teeth normally become loose and fall out with no degree of pain. The permanent teeth will then push up through the gum surface. This process normally begins at about the age of five or six and will continually gradually until all the teeth have been replaced. By the time a person reaches twelve years old, most, if not all, of the baby teeth are gone.

Different Types of Teeth

While children normally have twenty baby teeth, a complete adult set consists of 32 teeth:

  • Eight normal molars

  • Four back molars also known as wisdom teeth

  • Four canines

  • Eight incisors

  • Eight premolars

The incisors are the very front teeth, the canines are next, and the premolars follow. These three different types of teeth are part of the original primary set. The twelve molars, including the wisdom teeth, are brand new and do not replace any of the baby teeth. These slowly fill in the gum line throughout the back of each of the part of the mouth. While most people have almost every permanent tooth by the end of their teenage years, the wisdom teeth may or may not break the gum line. Most individuals will have to deal with wisdom teeth when they are between the ages of 18 and 24. On the other hand, wisdom teeth can stay beneath the surface for the entirety of a person’s life.

Common Permanent Tooth Problems

The most common problem that may occur with a permanent tooth is a condition called impaction. This normally occurs with the wisdom teeth and simply means that the tooth is fully developed but is not entering the oral cavity. Another common problem seen with wisdom teeth or the other back molars occurs from a lack of space in the mouth. This leads to dental crowding as the new teeth coming in push the other teeth out of alignment in order to fit. Because dental crowding can lead to a good deal of pain and bite problems, an orthodontist should be consulted.

Agenesis is a condition where one of the adult teeth never develops. While the condition usually affects the back wisdom teeth, it can affect the other teeth as well. If this occurs to one of the teeth meant to replace a primary tooth, the baby tooth will never fall out. If one of the main molars does not form, there will simply be a gap in the mouth as the other teeth come in as normal.

Permanent Teeth Care

Even though a permanent tooth is more resilient than the baby tooth it replaced, it is still important to brush and floss. This household care should also be supplemented by regular visits to the dentist. This is especially important for the back molars because some teeth can have naturally deep grooves. It is not always possible to keep these areas clean which will allow cavities to settle in. Keeping the gums and teeth healthy will help ensure that you do not lose any of the permanent set. If any of these teeth fall out or are damaged, they cannot be replaced naturally. Always make sure to visit a dentist if there are any teeth or gum problems so that the issue does not escalate.

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