Dental Anatomy 101

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teeth anatomy

Even though they are the hardest substance in the human body, your teeth need proper care if they are to stay strong. The tooth’s hard exterior protects a sensitive nerve-filled center that can be extremely painful if exposed. Before you visit us at Cottonwood Dental for a routine cleaning or procedure, you will get more out of your time in the chair if you have a basic understanding of what makes up the human tooth. Here’s a look at the anatomy of teeth in your mouth, including the different parts of teeth.

Teeth Anatomy

Each of your 32 teeth is made up of 3 basic components: the root, the neck, and the crown. The root goes below your gum line and extends into the jawbone, holding your tooth in place. The neck connects the root with the crown, which is the portion of the tooth that’s visible.

The exterior of the tooth’s crown is a white, hard layer called enamel. It is made from a tough mineral called calcium carbonate, and serves to protect your teeth from decay. However, plaque bacteria produce acids that can weaken and destroy tooth enamel—leading to cavities.

Surrounding the roots of teeth is a coating called cementum. Similar to enamel, but softer, this layer assists with root stability, binding the tooth firmly to the gums and jawbone.

Below the enamel and cementum is the dentin level. Making up the majority of the tooth’s structure, dentin is a bone-like, yet porous tissue filled with tiny tubes that communicate with the nerves of your teeth. If your dentin is damaged, you will feel sensitivity when cold or warmth comes in contact with it.

The tooth’s interior is known as the pulp, housed in the pulp chamber. It is the softest part of the tooth and is alive with nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp is extremely sensitive and is responsible for providing the blood flow and nutrients necessary to keep teeth alive. If tooth decay reaches the pulp, you’ll usually feel pain and may need a root canal to save a tooth from extraction.

Now that you know the basics of oral anatomy and the dental structure of teeth, why not have a dental professional give you a thorough examination and cleaning? Dentists recommend that patients come in at least twice a year for cleanings, so if you can’t remember the last time you came in, this would be an ideal time to book an appointment. For details or to arrange for your visit, please call Cottonwood Dental today.


About The Author

Dr. David Giaquinto, DDS

Dentist at Cottonwood Dental

Dentistry is a profession that requires many layers of knowledge and training. My background encompasses three post-grad degrees along with a command of aesthetics and precision. Both of those are necessary when creating the great results that we promise our patients. Being a graduate of the University of New Mexico and Marquette University School of Dentistry has provided me with a launching point for my practice at Cottonwood Dental. My ongoing research… [Read full bio]