A Guide To Dental Anatomy

The Permanent Canines: Maxillary and Mandibular

The maxillary and mandibular canines bear a close resemblance to each other, and their functions are closely related. The four canines are placed at the “corners” of the mouth; each one is the third tooth from the median line, right and left, in the maxilla and mandible. They are commonly referred to as the cornerstone of the dental arches. They are the longest teeth in the mouth; the crowns are usually as long as those of the maxillary central incisors, and the single roots are longer than those of any of the other teeth.

Maxillary Canine

Figures illustrate the maxillary canine in various aspects. The outline of the labial or lingual aspect of the maxillary canine is a series of curves or arcs except for the angle made by the tip of the cusp. This cusp has a mesial incisal ridge and a distal incisal ridge. The mesial half of the crown makes contact with the lateral incisor, and the distal half contacts the first premolar. Therefore the contact areas of the maxillary canine are at different levels cervicoincisally. (maxillary right canine)

maxillary canine


First evidence of calcification 4–5 mo
Enamel completed 6–7 yr
Eruption 11–12 yr
Root completed 13–15 yr

Mandibular Canine

The mandibular canine crown is narrower mesiodistally than that of the maxillary canine, although it is just as long in most instances and in many instances is longer by 0.5 to 1 mm.

The root may be as long as that of the maxillary canine, but usually it is somewhat shorter. The labiolingual diameter of crown and root is usually a fraction of a millimeter less. The lingual surface of the crown is smoother, with less cingulum development and less bulk to the marginal ridges. The lingual portion of this crown resembles the form of the lingual surfaces of the mandibular lateral incisors.

The cusp of the mandibular canine is not as well developed as that of the maxillary canine, and the cusp ridges are thinner labiolingually. Usually the cusp tip is on a line with the center of the root, from the mesial or distal aspect, but sometimes it lies lingual to the line, as with the mandibular incisors.

mandibular canine

First evidence of calcification 4–5 mo
Enamel completed 6–7 yr
Eruption 9–10 yr
Root completed 12–14 yr