What are Bicuspids? The In-Between Premolar Tooth

Posted Dec 2019

By Delta Dental of Arkansas

Tagged sealants, chewing, permanent teeth, primary teeth, molars, premolars, Bicuspids, oral health

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What are Bicuspids? The In-Between Premolar Tooth 

The bicuspid tooth is sometimes called a premolar because of its positioning between the canine teeth and molars.

Never bitten off more than you can chew? Thank your bicuspids, molars, and premolars.

Show them some love by learning what they are and what they do. You can even impress your dentist at your next visit.

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.

What are Premolar Teeth?

The same as bicuspid teeth. Bicuspids are also called premolar teeth because they are located between our canines and our molars in the backs of our mouths. Bicuspid is the more common name.

Bicuspid or premolar teeth typically come in between ages 12 and 13. They are part of your adult teeth.

Quick review: baby vs. adult teeth

Most people have two sets of teeth throughout their lives:

  1. primary or baby teeth, and
  2. permanent or adult teeth.

Babies and young children have 20 primary teeth, which fall out when they are ready to be replaced by adult teeth, 32 in total. The set of primary teeth does not have bicuspids.

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. When they start coming in during the early teenage years, many dentists recommend applying sealants to them. 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.

Sometimes, bicuspids are removed. Your dentist may recommend their removal to prevent potential complications when third molars partially erupt or are impacted.

What are Molar Teeth?

Molar teeth, or simply, molars, are located in the back of your mouth. They typically have a large crown with four or more cusps (Remember: Bicuspids have TWO!) and a broad chewing surface. They are larger than bicuspids.

Molars chew and break down solid food before you swallow it. There are usually more molars in the mouth than any other teeth.


Up next: What is the Cost of a Dental Cleaning?

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Posted by Delta Dental of Arkansas



Posted by Delta Dental of Arkansas

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