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How Did Canine Teeth Get Their Name Did and Are They Different from Eye Teeth?

We’d like to use today’s post for a little bit of dental trivia.

Perhaps you’ve heard of your canine teeth. These are the slightly longer, slightly more pointed teeth on both sides of your upper and lower jaw. They’re used primarily for biting and tearing. But how, you might wonder, did they get their name?

The answer to that is simple. Just take a moment to consider the name—canine teeth. If you have a dog, you’ll notice he or she has very similar teeth, though they’re probably much more pronounced. Because our version looks so much like what you’d find in a dog, and because they’re used for similar actions, they were called canines.

Now for our second question: are eye teeth different from canines? No, they’re not. So why the second name? The answer to that isn’t clear, but they’re most likely called eye teeth because of where they’re located. The next time you’re in front of a mirror, notice that your canines are in line with your eyes—hence the name, eye teeth.

For more on the name eye teeth, and their use in a few popular phrases, click here. And to reserve an appointment with Dr. Klotz or Dr. Schlossberg of Bethesda Sedation Dentistry, give our office a call. We serve patients from Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Chevy Chase, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Baltimore, and surrounding areas.