How Many Teeth CAN Humans Have?

Updated: Oct 14

You may be surprised but the number of teeth that humans have, not only depends on their stage in life but also their individual genetics. The answers will blow your mind.



Table of Contents:



How many teeth do adults have?

On average an adult human will have 32 teeth in total. These 32 teeth are considered permanent teeth because if you happen to lose one, it won't grow back.


Permanent teeth - ADA


These 32 teeth are also categorized into 5 different types of teeth:

  • 4 Central incisors. These are your front teeth closest to the midline of your mouth and dictate the overall aesthetics. They are used to cut and tear food.

  • 4 Lateral incisors. The next set of teeth after the central incisors. They assist in cutting and tearing food.

  • 4 Canines. These are the sharpest teeth with the longest roots in the mouth. Humans have 4 canine teeth in total. They're often referred to as the vampire teeth due to their pointy shape. The canines are great for grabbing and tearing food.

  • 8 Premolars. The premolars are situated in between the canines and molars. They participate in tearing food but their main function is in chewing. They're very efficient and grinding and mashing up food.

  • 12 Molars. The molars are the back most teeth and their main function is chewing and grinding up food. They break down the food enough so that it becomes small enough for you to swallow without choking.


Human teeth


The full set of dentition is then further divided into top teeth and bottom teeth. Humans have 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. This means that the upper teeth have 2 central incisors, 2 lateral incisors, 2 canines, 4 premolars, and 6 molars. The bottom have the same amount and types of teeth as well.


How many wisdom teeth do humans have?

On average, adult humans have 4 wisdom teeth in total and they are a part of the 32 teeth described above. This means that out of the 12 total molars that adults have, 4 of them are wisdom teeth. Just to reiterate, humans have 32 teeth total, which includes the wisdom teeth.


If we exclude the wisdom teeth, then adult humans would only have 28 teeth. Most adults in the United States, do have all 4 of their wisdom teeth removed so the vast majority of the population does have 28 teeth total without the wisdom teeth.


How many sets of teeth do humans have?

Adult humans have two sets of teeth total because the permanent teeth are actually the second set of teeth. The first set of teeth are the baby teeth or primary teeth but they all get shed before the permanent ones come in. Another name for the baby teeth are milk teeth.



How many teeth do children have?

Children have a total of 20 teeth and these are the first set of teeth that they will have before the permanent adult teeth come in. This means that if you lose one of the baby teeth due to tooth decay or trauma, you still have a second chance!




These 20 teeth are also categorized into 5 types of primary teeth:

  • 4 Central Incisors. These teeth contribute to the aesthetics and they help children rip and tear food. They're the first teeth to come into the mouth.

  • 4 Lateral Incisors. These teeth are right next to the central incisors. They also assist in cutting and tearing up food.

  • 4 Canines. The canines are similar to the adult ones but they're not as big nor as pointy.

  • 8 Molars. The molars serve the same function as the permanent teeth. They also chew and grind up food so that it becomes small enough to swallow without choking.

All 20 of the baby teeth will stay with the child until they reach about 12 years of age. The primary teeth will start shedding when the child is around 6 years of age. Due to the shedding process, the teeth are also commonly called deciduous teeth.


When do the primary teeth first erupt and appear in the mouth?

The first primary teeth will appear in the mouth around 6-10 months of age. As a general rule of thumb, every 4 months later, there should be 4 new teeth. This cycle repeats until the child gets all 20 primary teeth in total. The bottom teeth also come in a little bit faster than the top teeth.



How many teeth do kids have?

We will use the term "kid" to refer to a child that is between the ages of 6-17. Kids will have a mixed dentition consisting of both primary and permanent teeth, which means that they will have 20-28 teeth in total. The wisdom teeth don't come in until around 18 years of age or later so kids won't have them yet!



Humans with less than the average number of teeth

The average adult may have 32 teeth but there are genetic disorders where humans can have less than 32 teeth.

  • Anodontia. This rare genetic disorder is the absence of all teeth. This means that humans with anodontia have no teeth at all. These individuals have zero teeth.

  • Hypodontia. This genetic condition is defined by the absence of one or more teeth. It is not as severe as anodontia where they have no teeth at all.

  • Oligodontia. This rare genetic disorder is classified as missing 6 or more teeth in total.

A classic case of oligodontia would be the rare disease called Ectodermal dysplasia. These individuals have abnormalities with ectodermal structures such as hair, teeth, nails, sweat glands, salivary glands, cranial-facial structure, and other parts of the body. The typical oral presentation is missing a lot of teeth



Humans with more than the average number of teeth

On the other end of the spectrum, some humans have more than 32 teeth in total. This condition is called hyperdontia where an individual has extra teeth, otherwise called supernumerary teeth.


Mesioden

This condition is when a human has an extra tooth growing in between their two central incisors. It is often very pointy and it can be on the roof of the mouth or directly in between the incisors.



Extra wisdom teeth

Some people have more than just 4 wisdom teeth. There is no limit to the number of wisdom teeth you can have!

This picture shows an individual with 7 wisdom teeth. If you count all of the teeth on the xray, this human has a total of 35 teeth! They certainly have more than the average.


Infinite possibilities

If you thought 35 teeth were a lot of teeth, there is a rare condition called a complex odontoma which can give you a lot of teeth. It is basically a tumor that grows extra teeth. There was a case reported where an individual had over 200 teeth!


That was definitely a lot more teeth than you were expecting right? Human potential is limitless and that goes for how many teeth humans can have.



The Verdict

The average adult human will have 32 teeth in total, which includes the 4 wisdom teeth. Although there are outliers, which can have less teeth than 32 or they could potentially have more than that. Therefore, humans can potentially have an almost infinite number of teeth! If you really wanted to know how much you have then you should go in for your dental check up.


Just make sure you don't lose all of them from letting them rot from tooth decay! Remember to brush and floss twice a day so you can keep all of your teeth. This article is brought to you by your favorite dentist in long island city.

David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!