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Appearance of teeth

In this article, we will take a look at the appearance of teeth and get to know them better.


The cone-shaped protrusions on the occlusal surface of the posterior teeth are called cusps.


They are elongated, narrow, and relatively prominent areas on the occlusal surface, which have three different types:

A: Marginal Ridges

Marginal ridges are the highest areas of the occlusal surface in the border area of tooth contact with adjacent teeth. Each tooth has two marginal ridges, one on the mesial side and the other on the distal side.

B: Oblique Ridges

Oblique ridges can be seen on all molar teeth (large molar teeth) and also on some premolar teeth (premolar teeth). These ridges have an angle of 45 degrees concerning the central groove of the tooth.

C: Transverse Ridges

We see the transverse ridges only on the premolars, these ridges are opposite each other and have an angle of 90 degrees to the central groove.


There are dimples or depressions on the occlusal surface, the boundaries of these fossae are determined by the occlusal table on one hand and the ridges on the occlusal surface on the other hand. The fossae are the location of the cusps of the teeth of the opposite jaw.

* The deepest point of the fossa is called Pit.

Dissectional Grooves

Occlusal grooves can be seen as meandering lines on the occlusal surface that visually demarcate the occlusal surface of the tooth. All the grooves cut the occlusal table, which makes the border of the cusps more clear.

A: central groove

The central groove can be seen in all posterior teeth. This groove is stretched from the mesial side to the distal side of the tooth, on the occlusal surface.

B: buccal and lingual grooves

Buccal or lingual grooves can be seen on the occlusal surface of some teeth; which are drawn from the central groove to the buccal or lingual side of the tooth. These grooves are placed between the cusps on the buccal side or the lingual side.

Occlusal Table

The occlusal table is the peripheral edge of the occlusal surface of the teeth. This border is visible where the occlusal surface meets other external surfaces of the tooth (mesial, distal, buccal, and lingual surfaces).

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