Updated: May 15
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.