Maxillary and Mandibular teeth are different in every aspect starting from the size of the teeth to the number of roots (in the molars). This is a very important topic to know the differences between maxillary and mandibular molars to be able to do proper access cavity preparation, removal or caries and to build up tooth structure. When you are in college the differences are very important in Dental Anatomy practicals during wax carving. 

Differences between Maxillary and Mandibular molars:

Maxillary molars – Features

Both the first and second molars have 3 roots

The Root trunk is shorter in comparison to Maxillary molars.

Crown is Square shaped when seen occlusaly 

There are 3 major cusps

There are 2 Buccal cusps in both Maxillary molars 

Differences between maxillary and mandibular molars

Lingual cusps are also unequal in both Molars

Oblique ridge is present

It has only one transverse ridge

Occlusion table is centered labiolingually

Equal amount of Buccal and lingual surfaces are seen from occlusal surface

Cusp of Carabelli is seen in first molar 

The height of contour on the Lingual aspect is in middle 1/3 or just above junction of middle and cervical 1/3rd

Both the molars are wider Faciolingually than they are mesiodistally.

Both molars have a Distolingual groove.

Mandibular molars – Features

Both the first and second molars have only 2 roots (A third root is sometimes present, which is called – Radix Entomolaris) 

The Root trunk is shorter in comparison to Maxillary molars 

Crown is Pentagon shaped when seen oclussaly

Both Molars have 4 major cusps

There are 3 buccal cusps


There are 2 lingual cusps 

Oblique ridge is absent

There are two transverse ridges

Occlusion table is lingual placed.

Cusp of Carabelli is absent in mandibular molars

More buccal surface than lingual surface may be seen from occlusal

Lingual height of counter in middle 1/30just below the junction of the middle and occluded 1/3s.

Wider mesiodistally than faciolingually.

Buccal pit is present in both molars

There are a total of 12 molars in the oral cavity – 6 Maxillary and 6 Mandibular molars. The occlusal surface of the Molar consists of cusps which help in mastication of food or chewing. The molars also help in maintaining the vertical height of the oral cavity and also the face. The occlusion of the molar cusps is very important in determining proper occlusion of the oral cavity and it is important in Orthodontic treatment as well.