Oral Anatomy 3 - The Premolars
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Broadly, what are the premolars like?
- The premolars are unique to the permanent dentition.
- They are sometimes referred to as 'bicuspids', because they have two main cusps - a buccal and a palatal (or lingual) cusp - that are separated by a mesiodistal occlusal fissure.
What are the buccal and palatal surfaces like on a premolar?
- The buccal surface of the buccal cusp is similar in shape to the cusp of a canine, to which it may be considered analogous, while the palatal or lingual cusp corresponds developmentally to the cingulum of the anterior teeth.
- Thus, premolars are considered to be transitional between canines and molars.
- Viewed buccaly or lingually, all the premolars are trapezoidal, the shortest of the uneven sides being the bases of the crowns cervically
How do premolars appear when viewed mesially or distally?
Viewed mesially or distally, the maxillary premolars are trapezoidal in shape, the longest side of the trapezoid being the base of the crown at the cervical margin. It is thought that because the occlusal surface is not as wide as the base of the crown, the tooth can penetrate the food more easily, while minimizing the occlusal forces.
- The mandibular premolars however, are roughly rhomboidal in shape.
- The rhomboidal outline is inclined lingually, thus allowing corrct intercuspal contact with the maxillary antagonists.
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