TEETH ARE A LOT more complicated than they might seem from the outside, which is why we are using this post to provide a brief dental anatomy lesson. The easiest way to do this will be to divide that anatomy into two main categories: the crown and the root.
Something To Chew On: The Crown
The crown of a tooth is the part that is above the gumline, and it consists of three layers. The outermost layer is the enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body. It needs to be so that we can chew our food! However, enamel is not made of actual cells, which means it cannot repair itself if it wears down. Good brushing and flossing habits, regular dental visits, and avoiding sugary or acidic food and drink will help preserve that enamel for life.
Beneath the enamel is dentin, which is a lot like bone, consisting of living tissue that is calcified. It contains microscopic tubules that run from the pulp at the core of the tooth to the outer enamel. That is why we can feel temperature in our teeth! If the enamel has worn down, that normal sensation turns into painful tooth sensitivity.
At the very core of each tooth is the dental pulp chamber. The pulp includes the blood vessels that keep the tooth alive and nerves that provide sensation — including pain receptors that let us know when something is wrong. If tooth decay becomes severe enough to reach the dental pulp, you will definitely feel it, and that is a great time to schedule a dental appointment, if not sooner!
Beneath The Surface: The Root
The root is the long part of the tooth that connects to the jaw bone. Tiny periodontal ligaments hold each tooth in place, and gum tissue provides extra support. The roots are hollow, with canals that link the nerves and blood vessels in the dental pulp to the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
The main difference in the structure of the root compared to the crown is that the root lacks enamel. Instead, it is protected by a thin, hard layer of cementum. As long as the gum tissue is healthy and properly covers the root, the lack of enamel there is not a problem, but this is why exposed roots from gum recession are more susceptible to decay.
Protect Those Teeth!
Every part of a tooth’s anatomy plays a critical role in keeping it strong and healthy so that you can use it to chew your food and dazzle everyone around you with your smile. That is why it is so important to keep up a strong dental hygiene regimen. Keep on brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing daily, and make sure to keep scheduling those dental appointments every six months!
Thank you for choosing us to play a role in keeping your teeth healthy!
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.