Time for a Lesson in Dental Anatomy!
THERE WON’T BE a pop quiz later, but we still want our patients to be familiar with the anatomy of their teeth, starting with the crown and going down to the roots. When someone tells you they want to “makeover” their smile, they're probably referring to what's visible above the gum: the crown (also called the covering), which is essentially the smile itself. There are three layers that make up your crown: enamel, dentin and cementum, but it's not conventional practice to rebuild your crown just for aesthetic purposes, like teeth whitening or veneers. The roots lie beneath the gum — we'll get more into that shortly — and support the teeth with vital nutrients. Treatments include filling cavities (to repair damage), scaling (to clean tartar off the surface) and even repairing cracks or breaks in the tooth.
On the outside is the enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies. It must be that hard to withstand a lifetime’s worth of chewing our food, but enamel doesn’t replace itself once it’s gone. That’s why brushing, flossing, limiting our consumption of sugary and acidic food and drink, and scheduling regular dental cleanings is essential.
Dentin and Pulp
Underneath the enamel is the dentin, a more bony layer that is yellow and porous. The pulp chamber contains nerves and blood vessels at the very center. The pulp is how our teeth feel, temperature changes, and pain if something is wrong. Never ignore dental pain; it’s a natural warning sign from the body!
Beneath the gum line is the roots of the teeth. They’re longer than the crowns, anchored deep in the jawbone and cushioned by the periodontal membrane. Unlike crowns, roots are only protected by gum tissue and cementum (which isn’t as hard as enamel). Each root tip has a tiny hole through which nerves and blood vessels connect to the pulp.
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.