The Anatomy of Your Teeth
Teeth are excellent tools, perfectly designed for eating, speaking, and smiling. It’s easy to take our teeth for granted though, and many people do until there’s a problem. With bad teeth, you seldom feel like smiling and have a hard time eating. All of your teeth were made to last a lifetime, despite the problems that patients experience sometimes due to neglect. So our Sacramento dentists would like to explain why your teeth are special to help encourage quality dental care.
About the Dental Tissues
Teeth are made of four dental tissues — dentin, enamel, cementum and the pulp that lives inside your tooth. Pulp is the only one of these materials that’s soft. Made up of nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels, it gives the tooth sensation and keeps it alive.
The outside part of a tooth that you regularly see is covered with enamel and called the crown. Enamel is one of the hardest natural tissues, protecting the outside of the tooth, but it contains no living cells. So enamel wears out and decays if it is neglected through poor oral hygiene.
Under the enamel is dentin, a softer substance containing many microscopic tubes leading to the center of a tooth. Lose your enamel and you expose these tubes, causing pain and sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet things. Dentin also decays much more rapidly than enamel, so keeping it covered is important.
The “neck “of your tooth is where the crown meets the root. Usually, this part of the tooth is covered by healthy pink gum tissue. With age or gum disease, this portion of the tooth might be revealed, again exposing dentin to the environment of the mouth. To prevent this, keep in mind the nature of the gums. Technically called gingiva, this soft tissue surrounds the base of your tooth or covers teeth that have not erupted. Healthy gums are firm and pink and do not bleed when you brush and floss. When they do, this is a symptom that your gums may be infected with bacteria, called gum disease. In its two stages, the infection can be mild, gingivitis, or severe, periodontitis. Again, good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist prevent these diseases.
Each tooth’s interior, or root canal, is full of pulp, receiving the nutrients supplied by your blood vessels. It’s also full of nerves to send pain signals in case there is a problem with the tooth. That’s why a toothache is so painful! The nerves in your teeth are very sensitive.
Cementum is the hard tissue that “cements” your tooth in place, protecting the tooth’s root and keeping it attached to the periodontal ligament. These connective fibers attach the root to the tooth’s socket. Although dental implants mimic the effect of cementum quite well, nothing can duplicate the firm, yet cushioning hold that this substance provides for your tooth.
With such fabulous structures in our mouths, we should all follow a daily oral care routine to take of our teeth. Brushing and flossing are the best ways to ensure continued oral health, alongside semi-annual exams and cleanings at the Sacramento Dentistry Group. To preserve your teeth, schedule and keep your check-up appointments with our dentists and hygienists! We always look forward to seeing you.