- "Cuspid" redirects here. For the heart valves, see bicuspid valve and tricuspid valve.
oral anatomy, the canine teeth
, also called cuspids
, or (in the case of those of the upper jaw) eye teeth
, are relatively long, pointed teeth
. However, they can appear more flattened, causing them to resemble incisors
and leading them to be called incisiform.
They evolved and are used primarily for firmly holding food in order to tear it apart, and occasionally as weapons. They are often the largest teeth in a mammal's mouth. Most species that develop them normally have four per individual, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower, separated within each jaw by its incisors
; humans and dogs are examples. In most animals, canines are the anterior-most teeth in the maxillary
The four canines in humans are the two maxillary canines and the two mandibular canines.
There are four canine teeth: two in the upper (maxillary) and two in the lower (mandibular) arch. A canine is placed laterally to each lateral incisor
. They are larger and stronger than the incisors, and their roots sink deeply into the bones, and cause well-marked prominences upon the surface.
The crown is large and conical, very convex on its labial surface, a little hollowed and uneven on its lingual surface, and tapering to a blunted point or cusp, which projects beyond the level of the other teeth. The root is single, but longer and thicker than that of the incisors, conical in form, compressed laterally, and marked by a slight groove on each side.
The upper canine teeth (popularly called eye teeth, from their position under the eyes) are larger and longer than the lower, and usually present a distinct basal ridge.
The lower canine teeth (popularly called stomach teeth) are placed nearer the middle line than the upper, so that their summits correspond to the intervals between the upper canines and the lateral incisors.
With many animals the canine teeth in the upper or lower jaw, or in both, are much larger in the males than in the females, or are absent in the latter, with the exception sometimes of a hidden rudiment. Certain antelopes, the musk-deer, camel, horse, boar, various apes, seals, and the walrus, offer instances.