Understanding the Different Surfaces of Your Teeth 

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When learning about all of the different types of teeth you have and learning about specific areas of those teeth, it is important to use the appropriate terminology for the various directions and surfaces based on where the tooth in question is located within your mouth. Having even just a basic understanding of all of the different types of surfaces that actually exist in your mouth it could help you understand which areas need to be brushed more thoroughly and ensure that you are getting the most out of your daily oral healthcare routine.

Tooth Surfaces

Understanding the Different Surfaces of Your Teeth 

Every tooth in your mouth has the features listed below:

  • Distal – The portion of the tooth’s surface that is facing away from the middle of the face
  • Facial – The portion of the tooth’s surface that faces towards the lips or cheek. Also referred to by the terms labial (the surface facing the lips) and buccal (the surface facing the cheek)
  • Incisal – The edge of the anterior teeth used to bite
  • Lingual – The portion of the tooth’s surface that is facing the tongue.
  • Mesial – The portion of the tooth’s surface that is nearest the middle of the face.
  • Occlusal – The surface of the posterior teeth that is used for chewing.
  • Proximal – The surfaces of two teeth that are together 

The smooth surfaces of your teeth are very easy to clean. Your mouth actually does a great deal of self-cleaning on the smooth surfaces during the day. The movement of your tongue and the regular flow of your saliva are well-suited to cleaning the smooth surfaces and ensuring they are free from bits of food and bacteria as well. 

The areas that are more difficult to clean are the groves and pits of your teeth, so when you are brushing your teeth, that is where most of your focus should go to ensure the most thorough brushing job possible.

Plaque and Tooth Decay

The places where plaque is most commonly stuck and where tooth decay most often starts due to the structure of your teeth are:

  • Directly across the gum line
  • Inside of the grooves and pits
  • Anyplace where you have one tooth that touches the one next to it. Those contact points are especially important to remember when you are brushing and flossing.

At McBride Dental, we provide a full range of dental services that help our patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. Only through routine dental appointments and diligent oral care can you keep your teeth healthy and functional.

The professional staff at the San Marcos offices of Dr. Michael McBride are able to answer any questions you may have regarding cosmetic or restorative dentistry, as well as various common dental procedures. As always, we offer sedation dentistry as an option for our patients with extreme dental anxiety.

We can assist you in establishing good oral health habits to ensure that your teeth are always there when you need them and your smile always looks perfect.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, please give us a call at (760) 471-1003 and speak with a member of our dental staff today.


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