The more you know about your teeth, the more likely you’ll take proper care of them. So let’s take a brief tour of all the parts of a tooth and how they help us chew and eat.
Tooth Crown – The Part You See
The part that you see is called the tooth crown. It’s the visible, white part of the tooth that is covered by the enamel. The enamel is a very hard mineralized substance that protects the dentin, pulp, and bone inside from acids and bacteria. The more brushing and flossing you do, the less bacteria and acid buildup will form, preventing cavities and gum problems. And in the case that a part of the enamel gets chipped or cracked, a dentist can recommend replacing the damaged tooth with an artificial crown.
The Dentin – Beneath The Enamel
Directly underneath the enamel lies the dentin. This is a thick, calcified tissue that supports the tooth enamel and surrounds the entire pulp. It’s yellow in colour, can show through the enamel if the layer is worn down or weakened by acids and bacteria. And since it is softer than enamel it can decay more rapidly and be subject to cavities if not properly treated.
The Pulp – The Centre Of The Tooth
At the very centre of the tooth is the tooth pulp. It is made up of living connective tissue and cells that have signalling powers. This soft tissue is also known as the nerve, as it contains all the blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves. The primary functions of the pulp are to form and repair the dentin, to supply moisture and nutrients to the surrounding tissue, and to sense extreme temperatures and pressure. If decay is allowed to reach the tooth pulp, it can lead to infection, and a root canal will likely be recommended.
The Root – Below The Gums
Underneath the gums is the tooth’s root. It’s the lower two-thirds of the tooth in your mouth. This is what stabilizes the tooth. The roots of the teeth do not actually touch the bone but are connected by root fibres to hold the teeth in place. Healthy gums will prevent germs from getting to the bone and root fibres. If the gums become unhealthy, they can form deep pockets that collect bacteria, and that can reach down to the bone causing the bone to move away, resulting in lost teeth.
Brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. So if you haven’t visited us at Rockcliffe Dental in more than six months, now’s the time to book an appointment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call us to find out how you can become a new patient!
- Learn more about general dentistry in Ottawa