The normal adult dentition consists of 32 permanent teeth. The adult dentition has four types of teeth: 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars. The primary or deciduous dentition consists of 20 teeth of three types: 8 incisors, 4 canines, and 8 molars. Figure234.-1 shows the eruptive pattern of both the primary and permanent dentition. Agenesis, or lack of formation of a tooth or teeth, especially maxillary lateral incisors and third molars, is not uncommon. Likewise, extra or supernumerary teeth are not uncommon. Each tooth type is designed for a specific function in the process of mastication. Incisors are used for biting and cutting, canines and premolars for ripping, and molars for grinding. Figure2.34.-2 illustrates one commonly used tooth numbering system; however, description by the emergency physician of the tooth type and location is appropriate. Mastication is an important initial step in the digestive process and thus nutrition. The dentition is also important in the development of the mandible and maxilla and aesthetic development of the midface.
FIG. 234-1. Normal eruptive patterns of the primary and permanent dentition.
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