Anatomy of Your Mouth and Dental Structure

The anatomy of your mouth and dental structure includes the teeth, gums, tongue, palate, lips, cheeks, and floor of the mouth. Except for the teeth, the mouth is lined by mucous membranes. McGlone Dental Care in Denver takes care of it all for you.

Your teeth are held by the jaw bones and allow you to chew, talk, and shape your face. Children usually have 20 teeth and begin to develop their first permanent teeth by six years old. Adults usually have 32 permanent teeth.

There are different types of permanent teeth, each of which performs a specific function.

  • The front teeth are the central incisors. Adults have four central incisors; two on the upper and two on the lower arches. The teeth are sharp and help cut food.
  • The four lateral incisors are located next to the central incisors. These teeth have sharp edges for tearing food.
  • The sharp teeth located on either side of the lateral incisors are canine teeth. They can tear and bite food.
  • Eight teeth located next to the cuspids are premolars; two on each side of the mouth, four on the upper and four on the lower arches. These teeth tear and crush food.
  • The large teeth are Molars located in the back of the mouth behind the premolars. Adults have twelve molars (four being wisdom teeth), with six in the upper and six in the lower arches; three on each side of the mouth. Molars chew and grind food.
  • Wisdom teeth are the final four molars that most adults develop in the very back of the mouth. Wisdom teeth usually appear during the teen years but can develop at any time. Not all wisdom teeth have to be taken out, but because of the risk of overcrowding, infection or misalignment, they may need to be removed.

The anatomy of your mouth and dental structure also includes the gums, which are soft tissue in the mouth covering the bone holding the teeth in place. The gums are a protective barrier for the teeth and jaw bone.

The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth attached at the bottom of the mouth by a membrane on its underside. The top surface of the tongue contains tiny nodules or bumps that include the taste buds.

The tongue helps us taste, chew, digest, swallow and speak.

The palate is the roof of the mouth. The hard palate is the immovable, solid area of the roof of the mouth attached to the teeth and gums. The soft palate, the flexible area of the mouth where the gag reflex occurs, is located behind the hard palate towards the back of the throat.

The cheeks are the sides of the mouth to the front of the face and lips. They are made up of subcutaneous fat, with the outside layer covered by skin and the inside mucous membrane. The cheek muscles help us smile, swallow, chew, and digest food.

The lips connect to the front of the cheeks and are the soft and pliable fleshy tissue. Skin covers the outside of the lips. The gums are attached to the lips inside the mouth that are covered by the mucous membrane. Blood vessels give lips their red color.

The tongue takes up most of the floor of the mouth. The floor of the mouth has mucous membranes, glands, and portions of the muscles of the tongue and nerves.

For complete care of your entire mouth, teeth and much more, contact McGlone Dental Care in Denver for an appointment.