What are Bicuspids? The In-Between Premolar Tooth

Posted Dec 2019

By Delta Dental of Arkansas

Tagged oral health

Share this post

The bicuspid tooth is sometimes called a premolar because of its positioning between the canine teeth and molars.
Do you know the difference between bicuspids, molars, and premolars? These terms are complicated, and unless you went to dental school, you may have never learned about them!

This guide to tooth names will help you understand what bicuspids and premolars are for the next time you visit the dentist.

What Are Bicuspid Teeth?

Tooth names can often help us understand where they are in the mouth or what they look like. Bicuspid teeth have two cusps, or points—“bi” meaning two, and “cusps” referring to the points on the crown of the tooth. They are also called premolar teeth because they are located between our canines and our molars in the backs of our mouths.

Most people have two sets of teeth throughout their lives, primary or baby teeth, and permanent or adult teeth. Children usually start with 20 baby teeth, which fall out when they are ready to be replaced by 32 adult teeth.

Why Do We Have Bicuspids?

Bicuspids serve many purposes. Their broad chewing surfaces help us to bite down on and chew food. They share traits with both canines and molars, making bicuspids the most effective chewing mechanism in your mouth!

Does Everyone Have Bicuspids?

Yes, everyone has bicuspid teeth. Our bicuspids usually come in between ages of 12 and 13, and dentists may recommend getting sealants applied when they do. Sealants reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars, and sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start. But, sometimes bicuspids are removed. Your dentist may recommend their removal to prevent potential complications when third molars partially erupt or are impacted.

Click here to find a dentist near you!

Looking for more? Check out:

Blog Detail