Some artists would say the act of creation is like pulling teeth, while some members of the public would argue that looking at certain works of art is like teeth being pulled.

Maybe there is a subliminal reason, but teeth figure prominently at this year's Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) exhibition in Edinburgh.

Almost the first sight that hits you when you walk into the show is Graham Fagen's Scheme For Consciousness (Front, Roots, Back). Fagen made these three drawings of black heads with white teeth using pencil, enamel and Indian ink. They were created as part of the artist's Cabbages In An Orchard project, shown earlier this year at Glasgow School of Art.

Fagen, who is representing Scotland in next year's Venice Biennale and is the SSA's guest artist this year, made the drawings by feeling each tooth, in turn, with his tongue and then using a pencil to mark on paper what he could feel. After doing the drawings, he met up with a dentist who explained the perception we have of our mouths from the tongue is greatly exaggerated. This sparked off a plan in Fagen's mind to work on teeth drawings which show mood, emotion and even consciousness. These big heads - lacking in any facial features apart from the grizzly teeth - exude a strange, almost primitive, power.

About-turn from these drawings into what gallery assistants have taken to calling "the techie room", and you come face to face with Gina Czarnecki's Palaces; an oozing, glowing, jaggy, yet smooth and cave-like structure made from crystal resin encrusted with thousands of baby teeth donated by the public. It's a beguiling thing of beauty.

The exhibition features 262 works by 184 artists. Paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and installations have been selected following an open submission process, and there are various curated sections too.

The techie room (with added milk teeth) has been curated by Sarah Cook and Mark Daniels. This fascinating array of digital work includes Chris Rowland's haunting large-scale projection, The Fallen Oak (2006), a three-dimensional 'fly past' of HMS Royal Oak, the first battleship to be sunk at Scapa Flow in Orkney during World War Two, with the loss of 833 men.

Another crowd-pleaser is Ink by Nicole Heidke and Stefan Baumberger. This beautiful piece of artistic engineering is made up of five large clear glass bulbs suspended in a row. The blue ink inside is rotated and, over the course of a day, becomes more luminescent. Inside, illuminated handwritten texts start to appear. I wish I could have hung around, but there were too many other good things to see.

It's Me, Not You is a mini film festival, housed within a purpose-built cinema. The cinema has been created by SSA member Alan Bond, with Pryle Behrman curating a diverse group of short experimental films on the subject of locations controlled by others. It's worth lingering in this rather lovely little space just to see Bolivian police stop traffic in La Paz in Narda Alvarado's surreal Olive Green.

The presence of various works by recent graduates is a wonder to behold - quite literally. Marina Burt's Silk, Silver And The Sublime consists of a cabinet with an open drawer. Inside the drawer are live - and some not so-live - silk worms and moths. A mix of repulsive and beautiful, this lingers on in the mind for its short sharp reminder that in the midst of weaving a life, we are in death.

I spotted a few familiar names among the graduates from degree shows I've seen, including Morgan Cahn, a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Arts and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee last year, and Ryan Esson, another stand-out from DJCAD, who graduated this year.

I loved Cahn's Nail Soup; a cardboard array of bowls, cups, pots and pans and even a microwave - all atop a cardboard table. Essen's immersive video work, The Void, is enhanced by being in this setting. See me? Yes, I see me - again and again and again through countless mirrors with flames licking around the back of my seldom-seen head.

As is often the case with vast shows, there are too many works to mention individually but this is a very zeitgeisty exhibition, with mediums fusing and merging into one very 21st-century Scottish melting pot.

I was drawn to Carolyn Scott and Andy Sim's The Bus Party. This mix of film, written word and photography sheds a cool, clear light on a week-long Listening Lugs tour of Scotland made by various artists, writers and musicians in May, when they asked the question of various communities, "What kind of Future Scotland do we want?"

Another SSA innovation this year is Sit In/Take Away, a curated rotating exhibit in which visitors are invited to pull up a comfy chair and browse Daily Specials by artists including Liga Kocane, Nan Mulder, Lorna Fraser, Elaine Allison, Gillian Murray and Richard White. The Daily Specials change each day to a new roster of SSA artists, allowing visitors to view - and buy. All the work is £250.

See the SSA show? It may be short in terms of duration but, it is pin-sharp in content.

Society of Scottish Artists 117th Annual Exhibition, the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh ( until December 20