Which Tooth is That?

July 31st, 2017

By Leah Kinney, RDH, MS

Did you know that each of your teeth have individual names? Your baby (primary) teeth are identified by their own letters, and permanent teeth are identified by numbers.



In addition to being named, each “type” of tooth also has a very specific job!

Incisors are used for biting into food
Incisors are primary teeth D, E, F, G, N, O, P, Q and permanent teeth numbers 7, 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 25 and 26.

Canines are used for ripping and tearing food apart
Canine teeth are primary teeth C, H, M, R and permanent teeth numbers 6, 11, 22, and 27.

Premolars are used for chewing and grinding food.
Premolars are permanent teeth numbers 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28 and 29 – there are no primary premolars!

Molars are also used for chewing and grinding food
Molars are primary teeth A, B, I, L, S, T and permanent teeth numbers 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 30, 31, and 32.


Leah Kinney is a dental hygienist and the Director of Clinical Business Development at Delta Dental of Minnesota.  In her current role, Leah works to educate and empower Minnesotans to take control of their oral hygiene through proper homecare and regular check-ups with their dentist.  Leah received her dental hygiene and undergraduate degrees from Argosy University in Eagan, MN and also holds a master’s degree in legal studies from Kaplan University.