21 Types of teeth shape explained: a complete guide for you!

Table of Contents

Our teeth, like many of our organs, can be in different shapes, sizes, and structures depending on many factors such as age, gender, and ethnicity. In some people, the same teeth may be thicker or thinner, larger or smaller, sharper or straighter. A feature you notice in your teeth may be thousands of years old mutation inherited from your ancestors.

Even inside our mouth, there is a variety of teeth. All our teeth aren’t the same. Each of our teeth has different characteristics in line with a different function. Each performs another important function at the point of nutrition. As a result of all of them working together, healthy mechanical digestion takes place. 

In this article, we will see some different types of teeth shapes and their functions. Then we will take a look at the denture teeth shape guide and talk about the appearance of some genetic inheritances on the teeth.

What is the shape of the four types of teeth?

All of our teeth have their own specific functions. These functions are directly related to their shape. While eating, we pierce, tear, cut, and chew food with the help of mechanical movements. This is called mechanical digestion. We collect the teeth in our mouths in four groups according to their shapes.

Each of these executes different of these functions. The sharp ones perform the cutting process, while the flatter and wider ones perform the chewing function. They are ordered from front to back according to their functions. While the front ones are effective for cutting and tearing, the chewing function starts to dominate as you go behind. The tooth varieties in between also have features suitable for this transition in terms of their functions. According to these shapes, we can list the types of teeth as follows:

       Positioning       Number  Function       Shape            Age
Incisor teeth     front mouth            8  cutting  chisel-like baby – 6 months adult – age of 6-8
Canine teeth between incisors and pre-molars           4  tearing sharp and pointy baby – 16-20 months

adult – 9-12 ages

Pre-Molar teeth behind canines             8 grinding, chewing rectangular, 2-3 cusps no baby premolars, 

adult – 9-13 ages

Molar teeth back mouth            12 grinding, chewing rectangular, 4-5 cusps, flatter surface baby – 12-16 mouths

adult – age of 6

Incisor teeth

The incisors are your front teeth. There are eight in total, four in the lower jaw and four each in the upper jaw. They have a thin and wide structure that sharpens towards the ends. They are similar to chisel. When we bite into something hard, these teeth pierce them and go inside.

They are usually the first teeth to appear in babies. Baby teeth appear at the age of six months. Adult teeth also come in between the ages of 6-8.

Canine teeth

Canines are the sharpest teeth you have. They are located on the lower jaw and two on the upper jaw, surrounding your incisor teeth. They are used to tear food because they are pointed and pointy. When we bite food, our canine teeth sink firmly into them, preventing them from slipping out of our mouths. So, they also help our incisor front teeth while tearing pieces of food.

Canine teeth in infants grow out between 16-20  months. Adult canine teeth erupt between the ages of 9-12.

Pre-Molar Teeth

Premolars are like a transitional stage between canines and molars. They show some features of both tooth groups. They are effective in chewing activities as well as in tearing and cutting activities. They are rectangular like molars, but have two or three ends, unlike molars. We have a total of eight premolar teeth, four in the lower jaw and four each in the upper jaw.

There are no premolars as milk teeth. Adult premolars erupt between the ages of 9 and 13.

Molar teeth

They are the most numerous teeth in our mouth. It is our widest teeth. They have a rectangular structure and a flat surface. It has four or five ends. Its main functions are chewing and grinding. There are 12 in number, 6 in the lower jaw, and 6 in the upper jaw.

Baby teeth come out between 12-16 months. Adult molars emerge between the ages of 10-12.

Teeth shapes based on their forms

Tooth shape can vary according to many factors. As it will be shaped in line with genetic factors, its shape can also change over the years depending on your use. We can divide congenital tooth shapes into three. These are rectangular teeth, triangular teeth, and oval teeth. These are the types of teeth that a person can have from birth if there are no anomalies.

However, as we said, it is normal for the shape of our teeth, which we use mechanically for years, to change. As you age, your teeth begin to wear down from use. For this reason, certain types of teeth are associated with youth. For example, a person with teeth grinding (bruxism) problem constantly grinds their upper teeth with their lower teeth. This will wear down the surfaces of the teeth in the long run. You can see that the oval-shaped incisor teeth straighten after a while.

Tooth shapes have aesthetic worth as well as functional values. Some people may find a specific tooth shape more aesthetically pleasing. Although perceptions of beauty vary from person to person and culture to culture, you may want to change the shape of your teeth to be more comfortable with your own appearance. If you ask dentists about it, they can inform you about the treatment options. 

Triangular teeth shape

Triangular teeth are broad towards the tip while narrowing towards the root. When triangular tooth shape is concerned, triangular gaps can be observed between your teeth and gums. These spaces are also called black triangles. They are perfectly normal as long as they relate to your tooth shape. It can even be said to make it easier for you to clean between your teeth. However, they must be related to the shape of your teeth. The appearance of black triangles that did not exist before may indicate gingival recession.

Square teeth shape

Square-shaped threads are very easy to identify. They do not show constriction upwards or downwards. The end borders are similar to a straight line. Different teeth that wear over time can also approach this shape.

Oval teeth shape

In oval teeth, the central part of the tooth is more dominant. Tapering towards the roots and tips. The tip is not straight. It is a curved structure.

Denture teeth shape guide

When it comes to dental prostheses, another important factor besides health is the cosmetic aspect of the job. In fact, the primary function of some prostheses, such as veneers, is cosmetic. However, if we’re talking about the dentures cosmetic side is not the most important part. But, of course, people also look for a variety of choices where they can find what they think is beautiful and suitable for them. So there are many different options for dentures. We can enlist the main ones as followings:

             Form        Distinctive                          features
Aggressive style         Square Flat teeth aligned in the same line
Dominant style         Square Sharper and higher canines
Enhanced style Slightly rounded edges The height difference between central and lateral incisors, sharp canines
Focused style Similar to enhanced style except for central incisors Central incisors are square, with no rounded edges
Functional style Similar to enhanced Canines are pointier
Hollywood style Square, similar to aggressive  Lateral incisors are slightly shorter than central incisors
Mature style Square, similar to the aggressive style Canines are more curved and slightly more pointed
Natural style Similar to enhanced style Canines are very sharp
Oval style Oval tooth shape, curvy edges, and wider at center Alignment is similar to the aggressive style
Softened style Similar to oval Edges are less curved
Vigorous style Square, similar to aggressive Canines are longer, they protrude into the oral cavity
Youthful style Similar to the oval style Canines are more protruding and sharp

Some of these may mean different things aesthetically in some communities. For example, the aggressive denture type is preferred by people who want to reflect a stronger and more determined personality. Enhanced denture type is preferred by models. You can even find websites on the internet that do a character analysis on your tooth shapes. It will be fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

Teeth shapes based on ethnicity

The genetic group is a determining factor in the type of teeth shape you have, just like gender and anything else. The genetic heritage of people living in different parts of the world in different conditions and coming from different pedigrees is impressive in terms of tooth shape. You may even be able to guess your origins from it.

The medical history of categorizing by ethnicity is also fraught with many obscure problems. However, today, we can talk about these classifications in a non-racist, medical context.

Some genetic groups may have sharper, larger, or smaller groups of teeth. Tooth enamel may be thicker or thinner. In fact, people living in some parts of the world may have more or fewer wisdom teeth. We will now examine some of the tooth shapes associated with this ethnicity.

Asian teeth shape

The main characteristic of the Asian tooth type is shovel-shaped incisors. This incisor can be defined as the middle of the teeth being hollow and the ends relatively thick. This trait is seen specifically in those of Asian descent, Inuit, and Native Americans. In Europe, it can also be found in Hungarians or other societies of Asian origin. However, it is not usually seen in people of European and African descent.

Native American teeth shape

As we said above, shovel-shaped incisors are common in native American nations. In addition, there are some other features that are quite common in native American societies, although they are quite rare in the rest of the world. One of them is the talon cusps. Also known as “eagle talon cusps”. In this case, the anterior view of the teeth is normal, but behind the incisors, there are protrusions that can become tapered. This is also a rare mutation around the world. But it can be found more frequently in some specific native north American nations. In addition, winged incisors are also common among native American people. It is a situation where the anterior two incisor teeth are located at a different angle from the alignment of the other teeth.

What is the ideal teeth shape?

When it comes to an impressive smile, the first thing that comes to mind is teeth. You cannot have a perfect smile without having perfect teeth. However, ideal teeth shape and perfect smile are debatable arguments. 

As a matter of fact, what is beautiful is a subject that can vary a lot from culture to culture and even from person to person. Plus, the beauty of your teeth can’t be separated from your face. Everyone has unique faces with unique parts and proportions. They complete each other. So actually “which one is the most beautiful for me?” would be more logical to ask. What we mean by this is that some types of teeth are more compatible for some people and not for others.

The shape of your face, its dimensions, the structures and sizes of your mouth and nose, all these form a whole with your type of teeth shape and alignment. If you want to have a good appearance, it would be beneficial to consider your teeth as part of this whole. For example, more square or rectangular teeth shapes are found more attractive and preferred by many people. However, this may not be suitable for everyone. An exaggerated rectangular shape can look like horse teeth. More curved edges may be more suitable.

So, it’s better to decide on this after consulting cosmetic dentists and thinking deeply from this perspective. For a free consultation, you can contact us! We will help you to find the ideal teeth shape for you and have a perfect smile!

References:

Veeraganta SK, Savadi RC, Baroudi K, Nassani MZ. Differences in tooth shade value according to age, gender and skin color: A pilot study. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2015 Apr-Jun;15(2):138-41. doi: 10.4103/0972-4052.155035. PMID: 26929500; PMCID: PMC4762302.

Mayes AT. Labial talon cusp: a case study of pre-European-contact American Indians. J Am Dent Assoc. 2007 Apr;138(4):515-8. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2007.0205. PMID: 17403743.

Kharat DU, Saini TS, Mokeem S. Shovel-shaped incisors and associated invagination in some Asian and African populations. J Dent. 1990 Aug;18(4):216-20. doi: 10.1016/0300-5712(90)90116-v. PMID: 2212205.

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