What Are Premolars?

Have you ever heard your dentist talk about your premolars? You have all of your permanent teeth, so what exactly are premolars? The term premolars may sound like primary teeth, but in fact, they are just another name for the bicuspids. They are permanent teeth that are found between the upper molars and your canines.

They are thought of as transitional teeth, as they display some of the features of both the molars and the canines, and you’ll have four on each dental arch.

Does Everyone Have Premolars?

While all adults will have premolars, if you looked into your child’s mouth to try to identify which of his teeth are molars and which are the premolars, you would have a hard time. That’s because children don’t have bicuspids. The baby teeth have first molars rather than premolars, but when they fall out, they will be replaced by the premolars.

Premolars vs. the Molars

The premolars and molars look an awful lot alike. The main difference between these two different types of teeth is the shape and their size. Molars tend to be quite a bit larger than the premolars, and while molars will have four cusps, a premolar will only have two.

There is also a difference between the two types of teeth when it comes to the roots. Premolars usually only have one root, while molars will have at least two – upper molars usually even have three roots.

Despite some of the differences between the molar and premolars, they both need to be cared for properly and the same way. Ensure that you are getting into the back of your mouth when brushing and flossing. If you have additional questions about caring for these or any other teeth, contact your dentist.


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by Thomas Gonzales D.D.S.

Thomas Gonzales D.D.S. is a Los Angeles dentist with advanced training in dental implants. He has 46 years’ experience and is licensed in IV Sedation. Dr. Gonzales has taught courses worldwide on dental implants including for Noris Medical, Nobel, Neodent, LVI Global and Dental Implant Institute. He was a professor of IV Sedation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine and a neuromuscular dentistry instructor for Loma Linda Medical Center. He is a member of several prestigious organizations, including: the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and American Dental Society of Anesthesiology. Dr. Gonzales is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. He served in the United States Army and is a Vietnam War Veteran.

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