Your Largest Teeth
Used for grinding food, molars are the teeth found in the back of your mouth and are usually the final teeth to erupt. Altogether, we have 12 molars, with six molars in each jaw, and three on each side.
Molars are definitely the largest teeth in your mouth! Unlike your front teeth, which are sharp and pointy for biting, your molars have rounded cusps for chewing. Each molar uses two to three roots to anchor itself to your jawbone and keep this strong tooth in place.
Easy as 1, 2, 3
There are three different types of molars:
First Molars -- The first molars are often called six-year molars, because of the age you are when the permanent, or adult, molars erupt.
Second Molars -- Likewise, these are called 12-year molars. You get the picture! Both first and second molars come in the form of primary and secondary teeth. Once your baby teeth fall out, they will be replaced with permanent first and second molars.
Third Molars -- The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the final molars to come in. You'll probably start to see wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17-21. They're called wisdom teeth because by the time they erupt, we're supposed to be old enough to have wisdom. Considering most third molars erupt during the late teens, we think they must have been given this title when people had a shorter lifespan!
If you hear your dentist refer to your tooth as a "maxillary first molar" or "mandibular second molar," he's referencing the location of each molar in your mouth. As with any of your teeth, the molars located in your upper jaw are known as maxillary molars. In the lower jaw, they're called mandibular molars.