Premolar

Premolar

[pree-moh-ler]

The premolar teeth or bicuspids are transitional teeth located between the canine and molar teeth. In humans, there are two premolars per quadrant, making eight premolars total in the mouth. They have at least two cusps. Premolars can be considered as a 'transitional tooth' during chewing, or mastication. It has properties of both the anterior canines and posterior molars, and so food can be transferred from the canines to the premolars and finally to the molars for grinding, instead of directly from the canines to the molars.

The premolars in humans are the maxillary first premolar, maxillary second premolar, mandibular first premolar, and the mandibular second premolar.

There is always one large buccal cusp, especially so in the mandibular first premolar. The lower second premolar almost always presents with two lingual cusps.

Premolar teeth by definition are permanent teeth distal to the canines preceded by deciduous molars. In primitive mammals there are four premolars per quadrant. The most mesial two have been lost in New World monkeys, apes, and humans. Paleontologists refer to human premolars as Pm3 and Pm4.

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