What Is The Difference Between Premolars and Molars?

As adults we might not fully remember the process of how we lost all of our teeth and had them replaced with our adult teeth. While we might all still remember one specific story of how a tooth fell out or how much we got from the tooth fairy, it can be hard to remember the timeline and process of losing teeth and getting new teeth. For that reason, it is important for parents to understand the different types of teeth, the different timelines for when teeth come-in and are shed, and above all make sure kids are seeing a dentist routinely. A quick dental visit twice a year can answer questions you have about your children’s teeth and make sure they are coming in properly. Read on for more information about different types of kids’ teeth and contact us for family dentistry in the Revere Massachusetts area. 

What are Premolars?

One confusing thing for some parents is the difference between premolars and regular molars. The eight teeth in the front of the mouth that are most visible when a child smiles are their incisors, on either side of these eight teeth are the four canines (the pointed teeth). This group of twelve teeth come-in as two sets. First they arrive when our kids are young as primary (baby teeth), a few birthdays later and these teeth fall out and are replaced one to one by their secondary (adult) counterparts. 

But after the canines is a bit more complicated. The primary (baby) teeth that appear behind the canines are called premolars and are shaped similar to our molars. There are 8 premolars that appear in a child’s mouth. So all together there are 20 teeth that are “baby teeth”. However, an adult mouth has 32 teeth (including the wisdom teeth), meaning there are 12 teeth that grow-in and don’t replace any existing teeth. 

A child has the following twenty baby teeth:

  • 8 incisors – the front teeth, which are replaced with 8 more incisors. 
  • 4 Canines – the sharp teeth near the incisors which are replaced with 4 new canines.
  • 8 Premolars – the chewing teeth in the back of the mouth that are replaced with the bicuspids. Bicuspids are teeth with two main points that are behind the canines and in front of the adult molars which are larger. In fact, it is common for the adult molars to come in while the premolars are shedding and the bicuspids are coming in. 

Do Molars Fall Out and Grow Back?

Yes and no. The premolars which sit behind the canines do fall out usually when a kid is between the ages of 10 and 12. Those teeth would have erupted when your child was somewhere between 2 and three years old. These teeth are replaced with the bicuspids. However, other sets of molars grow in behind the premolars and these teeth never actually fall out. These sets come in when children are 6-7 and 12-13 years old and do not need to be replaced. A third set of adult molars called the wisdom teeth can also arrive around age 17-21 and are often removed because the mouth doesn’t have enough space for them. 

Schedule Children's Dental Treatments in Revere

A quick dental treatment at the dentist can go a long way in monitoring and improving your child’s dental health. If you live in the Greater Boston area and need to make any dental appointments for your family, please give us a call. 

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