How Many Teeth Should Adults Have?

Something that I get asked all the time is “How many teeth adult teeth are there”

All adults tend to have the same number of teeth. Damaged or missing teeth can change the total number – but almost every adult human is the same.

I’m a dentist and when I see kids, they can usually tell me straight away how many teeth are in their mouth (and how wobbly they are!) but adults usually do not know.

The total number of teeth adult humans gave  comes up surprisingly often at trivia nights too!

We use teeth every day for chewing and as part of talking. We smile (or frown) at others every day too. Teeth are a really important part of being an adult.

Each tooth has three layers

  1. Enamel – the incredibly hard white outer shell of teeth. This is the white layer that allows us to flash a smile, but also chew our food. It is VERY tough and we try and clean this outer layer well. If the tooth were a pumpkin – it would be the hard outer shell.
  2. Dentin – dentin (or dentine) is the middle layer that makes up the bulk of the tooth. It is softer than enamel and similar to bone. It connects to the innermost layer of tooth
  3. The nerve – The nerve is the centre of the tooth. It is also knowns as. the pulp. This is where the sensations of chewing and col dan shot come from. It is made up of nerve tissue and blood supply!

What People Ask About Adult Teeth

Q: How many adult teeth are there?

A: Most of us are the same – and the average adult human will have 32 teeth total.

This includes four wisdom teeth (“third molars”). If you have had your wisdom teeth our – you would have 28 adult teeth.

The average adult will have 16 teeth on top, and 16 teeth on the bottom. The upper and lower teeth all are matching to each other.

We get our first adult teeth around 6-7 years old – as you can see in this eruption table showing when we get our adult teeth.

We grow in new molars without losing baby teeth down the back around this time.

Then – we get even more adult teeth when the very from lower and upper teeth get wobbly and get replaced with adult teeth.

adult teeth chart
Adult teeth chart showing all 32 adult teeth and the most common ages for tooth eruption. 16 adult top teeth, 16 adult lower teeth.

Q: Why do I only have 28 teeth?

A: Some people get worried as they only count 28 teeth in their mouth. It likely means you don’t have wisdom teeth (yet) or don’t have wisdom teeth at all! The wisdom teeth are the most commonly missing teeth in the mouth.

If you have had your wisdom teeth out OR they have not grown in yet – you would have 28 adult teeth when you count them.

Another possibility is that four other teeth are missing. Sometimes when people get braces they have other teeth our to reduce crowding and pout the teeth and jaws back into the correct place.

Q: I have more than 32 teeth?

A: Some people are born with more than 32 teeth! Usually the extra teeth are wisdom teeth – or bonus small teeth. They can occur anywhere but sometimes closer to the front.

It is not a problem if you have extra teeth – unless there is not enough space. If there is not enough space there can be tooth crowding – which can effect chewing and how the jaws meet together.

When you have extra teeth sometimes dentists will remove some of the extra teeth so there is enough space for the teeth that are supposed to be there.

Another issue that people have when they have a lot of extra teeth is difficulty keeping all those teeth clean! If you cannot keep the teeth clean there isa. brisk that decay or abscess can develop. This can hurt or cause serious health problems.

A few people are born with HEAPS more than 32 teeth (extra teeth) but this is very rare.

Q: What are the different adult teeth?

A: The average adult will have 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars (4 of which are wisdom teeth). Typically an adult will have all of their teeth by the end of their teenage years.

  • Incisors: narrow-edged teeth at the front of the mouth, adapted for cutting. There for in in the upper teeth, and four lower incisors too
  • Canines: long pointed teeth that we use for tearing food and eating. There is one canine in each corner of the mouth
  • Premolars: a premolar (or bicuspid) is a mini molar tooth with two points on it. We have four in each jaw. They are used for grinding food – and some tearing
  • Molars: The largest teeth are molars at the back of the mouth. These include wisdom teeth. They are large and used for chewing. The hardest biting teeth in the mouth!

The teeth are evenly split between upper and lower, and evenly split left to right.

The simple answer: 32 teeth total (28 excluding wisdom teeth).

adult teethh diagram
Adult teeth chart showing the different types of teeth adult teeth.

Q: How many teeth do kids have?

A: Kids have 20 primary (baby teeth).

So in total a kid will have 20 baby teeth that will become wobbly and fall out in their life.

It can get confusing though as new adult teeth can grow in as early as 5 years old!

Q: How many teeth do you lose?

A: Humans only lose the baby teeth. There are twenty baby teeth – so in total kids will lose 20 teeth in total.

There are more adult teeth than baby teeth – so some adult teeth just grow in without requiring a baby tooth to be lost.

Q: A teenager has how many teeth?

A: Teenagers aged 13-17 are likely to have twenty-eight teeth. Some teens develop their final back teeth late – and could have fewer.

28 teeth is the average for a teen – but it is very common to have fewer or more. Dentists can quickly and easily tell if tooth growth is normal or not. Just ask at the next time you take a teen to a check up!

Some teens also get their wisdom teeth early and can have 30, or the total 32.

Q: How many teeth are in a full set of dentures?

A: Dentures don’t need to follow the natural number of teeth to look and feel great. Typically dentures will have 28 or 32 teeth if they are a full set (14-16 each for the upper and lower dentures).

Q: How many teeth before wisdom teeth?

A: Counting from the front – the wisdom tooth is the eighth tooth from the front and centre. There are three large molars you should be able to feel at the back of the mouth if the wisdom teeth are present.

So starting with the front tooth on the right – count back eight to see where the wisdom teeth is supposed to be.

Down the back there are THREE molars (with four points usually). If you can only feel TWO molars it usually means you do not have wisdom teeth yet. Not everyone gets wisdom teeth – so some x-rays really help figuring out what is going on.

Wisdom teeth come in many sizes but usually feel like a smaller version of the big molar once fully through.

Q: How many teeth can be removed at once?

A: If you really need an extraction, the answer is typically unlimited. When necessary, for almost all patients, a dentist can remove as many teeth as needed at once.

For every tooth removed there is some healing involved. Some people prefer to get all the teeth they need out at once – in order to have to go through the healing process just once.

I often remove all four wisdom teeth at once. I also sometimes have to remove up to twenty plus teeth in one sitting!

Sometimes all the teeth are removed at once- this is called a dental clearance.

Q: How many teeth are on the bottom row?

For adults there are up to 16 teeth in the bottom row. If there are no wisdom teeth – there are 14 adult teeth in the bottom row.

Children have ten teeth in the bottom row – until the new molars grow in aged around 6. Then, they have 12 teeth in the bottom row!

Q: How many teeth are there excluding wisdom?

A: If all teeth are present except the wisdom teeth – we have 28 adult teeth.

Most people have enough space for all twenty-eight adult teeth excluding the wisdom teeth. But not everyone!

Q: How many eye teeth do we have?

A: “Eye teeth” is another name for canine teeth. Humans have four permanent canine teeth, one in each corner of the mouth.

We do have four baby canine teeth as well – but these are lost typically by the time a kid becomes a teenager. A children canine tooth is not as large as an adult canine tooth – but can still be very pointy!

Q: How many teeth do dogs have?

A: People often come to this page or website looking for info about how many teeth dogs have. I’m a human dentist- but I found this website that says that grown up dogs have 42 teeth! That’s 10 more than humans.

Puppies lose their baby teeth just like adults! The age depends on the breed. My own puppy lost almost all of his baby teeth by six months old. Apparently if the puppy teeth stay for too long they need extraction! (Just like humans)

That is however less than the sixty teeth than the average T-Rex has!

Q: How Many Teeth Do Sharks Have?

A: Depending on the species of shark – the number changes. Sharks reportedly have around 50-300 teeth at any one time. They however lose their teeth very rapidly over the course of their life. Some sharks end up having over 50,000 teeth in the course of their life! (Shark Website Source)

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