The maxillary central incisor is a human tooth in the front upper jaw, or maxilla, and is usually the most visible of all teeth in the mouth. It is located mesial (closer to the midline of the face) to the maxillary lateral incisor. As with all incisors, their function is for shearing or cutting food during mastication (chewing). There are no cusps on the teeth. Instead, the surface area of the tooth used in eating is called an incisal ridge or incisal edge. Formation of these teeth begin at 14 weeks in utero for the deciduous (baby) set and 3–4 months of age for the permanent set.
There are some minor differences between the deciduous maxillary central incisor and that of the permanent maxillary central incisor. The deciduous tooth appears in the mouth at 3–18 months of age, with 6 months being the average and is replaced by the permanent tooth around 7–8 years of age. The permanent tooth is larger and is longer than it is wide. The maxillary central incisors contact each other at the midline of the face. The mandibular central incisors are the only other type of teeth to do so. The position of these teeth may determine the existence of an open bite or diastema. As with all teeth, variations of size, shape, and color exist among people. Systemic disease, such as syphilis, may affect the appearance of teeth.
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