Sterling VA Dentist

What Are All Those Things in Your Mouth Called?

What Are All Those Things in Your Mouth Called?
What Are All Those Things in Your Mouth Called?
Dr. Eddie Choi, EverSmile Dentistry, Sterling, Virginia

When you’re getting your dental checkup, you probably hear the dentist and the dental assistant talking. They sometimes use non-familiar terms to refer to the various areas of your mouth. Let’s explore some of those terms of mouth anatomy so you will be familiar with them too.

What are the things in your mouth called?


There are several different types of teeth within the human mouth:
Central Incisors: Your front teeth; two on the top and two on the bottom. They are used to cut food.

Lateral Incisors: The teeth located just next to your front teeth on both sides, top and bottom. They have rough edges to tear food.

Canines: The sharp-looking teeth next to the lateral incisors, also known as cuspids. They help to bite and tear food.

Premolars: The next two teeth on each side of the canines, upper and lower. Also known as the bicuspids, they have two cusps on their chewing surfaces for biting, tearing and crushing food.

• strong>Molars: Three teeth on each side, top and bottom, behind the premolars. Adults have 12 molars including wisdom teeth. Molars have four cusps for biting, chewing and grinding food.

Wisdom Teeth: The final molar in the very back of the mouth in adults. Sometimes removed due to overcrowding.


The soft tissue that surrounds teeth to hold them in place and covers the jawbone. You know this term as the gums.


The jaw is composed of several bones: the upper jaw and the lower jaw. The upper contains has two fused bones that are attached to your skull. The lower jaw is separate from the skull and can move up and down to allow speech and eating.


Located on the roof of the mouth, the palate consists of a hard palate and a soft palate. The hard palate is immovable and creates and mouth’s arch. The soft palate is fleshy and flexible and is located near the back of the throat behind the hard palate. It is where the gag reflex occurs.


The muscular organ within the mouth containing papillae, the tiny bumps that include the taste buds. The tongue aids with chewing, swallowing and speaking.

Lingual Frenum or Frenulum Linguae

The thin membrane that attaches your tongue to the bottom of the mouth.

Salivary Glands

There are 3 sets of salivary glands in your mouth: parotid, submandibular, and sublingual. Saliva is produced by these glands to provide enzymes that aid in breaking down food to make it easier to swallow. Saliva also protects teeth by helping to wash away food particles and bacteria, and counteracting acidic foods.


The hanging flap of tissue at the back of your throat made of muscle fibers and connective and glandular tissue. Scientists do not know its use, but it may aid in speech and giving the mouth and throat moisture.

Oral Mucosa

The mucous membrane that covers everything in your mouth as a protective lining except for your teeth. It helps to protect your body from bacteria and germs.

Want a Personal Mouth Tour?

If you’d like a personal tour of your mouth, ask your dentist the next time you come to our office. We’ll be glad to show you around to explain what all those things in your mouth are called, and talk about how you can protect your oral health.

EverSmile Dentistry is a family dentistry practice located in Sterling, Virginia to serve patients throughout Northern Virginia. Patients love the fact that we take the time to talk to them about their dental health and answer any questions they might have. In fact, you’ll love our entire staff.

If you’re looking for a family dentist, try EverSmile Dentistry. Contact us today to set your appointment.