Understanding basic tooth anatomy may help you discover more about how your teeth work and hopefully improve your dental hygiene. Although there are multiple complex parts that work together to form what we refer to as a tooth, there are three main parts that you should know about.
The tooth crowns is what you actually see when you smile. Most people think of the crown when they refer to a tooth or teeth. This crown is covered by a white layer of enamel which is what protects the content of the tooth. The enamel is actually the hardest part of the human body. This portion may get eroded by bacteria and acids which is what the dentist means when he says you have a cavity.
Dentin and Pulp
The pulp and dentin is what is contained just under the enamel. The dentin is thick, yellow, bone-like layer on which the enamel is supported. It is softer than enamel. The dentin sends signals to your brain which is what you experience when you have a tooth ache or sensitivity. It also carries some nerve fibers.
The tooth pulp is often referred to as the nerve. It is actually a soft tissue which is located in the middle of the tooth structure. The tissue contains lymph vessels, blood vessels and nerves. This collection of vessels and nerves is what makes you feel the tooth such as in a tooth ache. Decay that reaches the pulp often requires a tooth canal treatment. The pulp also receives nourishment for healthy teeth.
Finally, the tooth root is invisible but is what anchors your tooth to the bones in your mouth. The root is located below the gum line. Much like the roots of a tree, the tooth root supports the tooth so you are able to chew and bite with ease. There is a connection between the root (cementum) and the actual jawbone known as the Periodontal Ligament.
Each set of teeth; the incisors, canines, premolars and molars contain these three basic layers. Tooth ache, discoloration and other dental issue indicate a problem in one or more of these layers. Good dental hygiene helps to preserve your teeth and ensure that you can cut and chew food comfortably. Brushing twice a day, flossing every day and regular dental checkups stand out as the best methods for preserving your teeth.