How Are Teeth Supposed to Line Up?

Teeth come in all shapes and sizes! In fact, we have two sets of teeth that exist in our mouths during a lifetime: our baby teeth and our adult teeth. Generally, the first set of baby teeth tend to erupt anywhere from 6-10 months and the rest follow. Later on, the baby teeth shed or fall out to make room for our adult teeth, which leads us to a question: how do the teeth fit in the mouth?

Typically, the teeth fit (or line up) in the mouth in a particular order. For baby teeth, you have top teeth (maxillary teeth) and lower teeth (mandibular teeth) and are arranged in a particular order from front to back: central incisor, lateral incisor, canine, first molar and second molar. As for adult teeth, it is a little different because with adults there are 32 teeth total. They are arranged as follows from front to back: central incisor, lateral incisor, canine, first premolar, second premolar, first molar, second molar, and third molar (wisdom tooth). Now, how these teeth actually line up in the mouth can vary greatly depending on an individual’s structure and oral anatomy. For example, some people may have teeth lined up relatively straight and others may have crowing or gaps between their teeth. Everyone is different and it is normal if your teeth aren’t as naturally aligned as your neighbors.

More specifically, there is a technical term for how the teeth “line up” or fit together called occlusion. The occlusion accounts for how the teeth come together especially when biting together and believe it or not the teeth are meant to fit in a very specific way so that they are functioning properly. Ideally, a specific cusp on the upper first molar is meant to fit with a specific groove on the tooth of the lower first molar in textbook “perfect” alignment. However, we know that this is not always the case! For this reason, “malocclusion” is termed for teeth that are misaligned, which can cause mild to severe complications. In fact, orthodontists are extensively trained in misaligned teeth and is the reason why braces and orthodontics are so important! The orthodontic treatment with braces can help to align these teeth in their desired position. If you believe you may have a misaligned bite or teeth, please consult with your dentist or an orthodontist to further evaluate.


If you have any questions about tooth alignment or are looking for an orthodontist in the area, Gladwell Orthodontics is available for your needs! Please contact us or any information or if you would like to receive a thorough evaluation.