Structure of the Tooth

What are the different parts of a tooth?

A The tooth is made up of many different layers and parts. In fact, there are 3 different levels and 3 different layers of the tooth, all housing special parts and providing useful services. The top layer that is visible above the gum is called the crown. The crown of each tooth has a coating of enamel, which protects the underlying dentine. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, harder even than bone. It gains its hardness from tightly packed rows of calcium and phosphorus crystals. The enamel is the white layer of the tooth covering all the visible parts of the tooth. Enamel protects the tooth against injury, bacteria, and other harms.

The neck is the second level of the tooth. The neck encompasses the entire region of the tooth at the gum line, between the root and the crown. Inside the tooth at the neck level is the layer of dentine. This substance is slightly softer than enamel, with a structure more like bone. It is elastic and compressible in contrast to the brittle nature of enamel. Dentine is sensitive. It contains tiny tubules throughout its structure that connect with the central nerve of the tooth within the pulp. When enamel is cracked or eaten away by decay and dentine is exposed, these tubules expose the nerve and allow stimuli to reach it easier and faster, causing pain and discomfort.

The root is the third and deepest level of the tooth. The root is the region of the tooth that is below the gum. Some teeth have only one root, such as incisors and canine teeth. However, other teeth, such as molars and premolars have 4 roots per tooth. In the root, we find a thin layer of cementum covering the dentine. Cementum is a hard bone-like substance. The elastic fibers that attach the tooth to the jaw bone are called the periodontal membrane. This membrane bonds to the cementum in the root of the tooth.

The last part or the tooth is called the pulp. The pulp forms the central chamber of the tooth. The pulp is made of soft tissue and contains blood vessels to supply nutrients to the tooth, and nerves to enable the tooth to sense heat and cold. The pulp also supplies materials to the tooth in order to fight bacteria. The pulp extends out of the roots of the tooth in an area called the root canal. There is a small opening at the tip of the root where the pulp meets and connects with the surrounding tissue allowing nerves and blood to enter the tooth.

If you have any more questions about the structure of the tooth or concerns with your dental health, do not hesitate to call Dr. Daniel Mishaan and make an appointment to come in discuss any problems you may have. Better dental knowledge is one of the keys to a lifetime of healthy smiles.