Understanding The Anatomy Of Your Teeth
You use them every day to chew, speak and smile, but what do you really know about your teeth? Here’s a breakdown of the basics.
Types of teeth
The average adult has 32 teeth. These include incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Although they have different functions, each tooth has the same basic structure.
Roots and Crowns
Your teeth are made up of two anatomical parts: the root and the crown. The root is the area underneath your gumline that connects your teeth to your gums and jawbone. The crown is the hard, white part above your gumline that you use to bite and chew.
Tooth enamel is the outer layer of your crown and is the hardest material in your body, even harder than your bones. It’s made of calcium phosphate which is as solid as crystal. It’s this hardness that allows you to effectively bite and chew food.
However, your enamel isn’t indestructible. Bacteria in your mouth creates plaque, which can lead to cavities and fillings. Unlike bone, enamel contains no living cells, so it can’t repair itself after it’s been damaged. The good news is, you can re-mineralize and strengthen your enamel by eating foods rich in phosphates and calcium, plus brushing regularly using fluoride toothpaste.
Under the enamel layer of the tooth is a yellow-coloured substance called dentin. It’s made of pores called dentinal tubules and is softer and more sensitive than the outer layer. If your enamel gets worn or damaged, the dentin gets exposed, which can lead to pain and discomfort when you consume hot or cold food and drinks.
The pulp is the innermost part of the tooth and consists of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. It sends information about pressure and temperature to your brain.
If bacteria penetrates into the pulp, it can cause a serious root canal infection. In some cases, abscessed teeth need to be extracted. Another is root canal surgery, where a dental surgeon removes the interior pulp so that the tooth can remain in place.
Cementum is a hard layer that covers the roots of your teeth under the gumline. It’s as hard as bone but softer than enamel. This layer binds the roots of your teeth to the gums and jawbone.
Family dentistry in Calgary
At Forest Lawn Dental Centre we offer a wide range of dental services for the entire family, including dental exams and teeth cleanings. To schedule an appointment at our Calgary dental clinic contact us today.