basic tooth structure

Your teeth are a critical element in your wellbeing. If we take care of our teeth, then they are able to serve us for the rest of our lives, helping use chew food and giving us beautiful smiles. Understanding the basic structure of your teeth helps make the process of taking care of your teeth. Here then is a look at the basic tooth structure.

Types of Teeth

A typical adult has several different types of teeth in their mouth. The teeth are shaped differently because nature designed them to perform different roles. We have incisors which are the front flat shaped teeth. There are also the canine teeth which are located on both sides of the mouth and finally, there are the molars at the back of the mouth which have a flat surface that make them ideal for chewing food. Regardless of which tooth we are talking about; all teeth consist of the following.

Enamel

Enamel is the outer covering of the tooth. It is extremely hard (one of the hardest substances in the human body). The enamel helps protect teeth from the extremities that come with chewing hot, cold or hard food. The thickness of enamel varies and it does wear out over time.

Dentin

This tissue lies just beneath the enamel and is slightly softer. Although it acts as a protective layer, this tissue is more prone to tooth decay and deteriorates much faster when tooth decay reaches it. Dentin has tiny tubes that run along and around the tissue. These tubes are known as dentinal tubules.

Cementum

This lies immediately below the dentin and has a hardness that is similar to bone. This tissue covers the nerve (or root) of the tooth and also connects the alveolar bone to the periodontal ligament. Once tooth decay eats though cementum, then a person begins to experience most of the symptoms that we associate with tooth decay.

Dental Pulp

The dental pulp is the root of the tooth. This is a nerve that contains blood and lymph vessels. When exposed due to periodontitis or receding gums, it can cause a person severe pain that people associate with decayed teeth. The level of pain depends on many factors including the level of exposure.

Understanding the structure of the tooth is important to prevent dental problems. For example, consumption of sugary and acidic food leads to the systematic weakening of enamel by bacteria. Once this hard-protective cover is sufficiently weakened, the decay then eats into the subsequent layers until it reaches the root.

If not stopped in time, it likely leads to the loss of the entire tooth. Keeping your teeth and all their components strong is the key goal of oral health care. It helps destroy bacteria and remove remnants of sugar and acid from the mouth that attack teeth.

Part of taking care of our teeth involves regular dental exams by a professional dentist. Dr. Alex Rubinov is a professional and licensed New York City dentist with years of experience. Contact his practice at (718) 253-0800 for an appointment.

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