Basic Tooth Anatomy
Teeth are shaped according to its function and location in the mouth but regardless of its shape and function, it is composed of the same structures as follows: Crown- is the top portion of the tooth. This is what we can see in the oral cavity just by looking inside our patients’ mouth. Root- is the part of the tooth that is embedded in the bone.
We can see the root of a tooth usually in a radiograph. Each tooth is composed of 4 primary structures namely: Enamel- is the hardest and most mineralized substance in the body. It covers the outside of the crown of the tooth and is translucent.
Because the content of enamel is highly mineralized it also makes it susceptible to cavities. How? Reasons for decay vary but mostly it is due to ingestion of sugars that react with the bacteria found in the mouth that forms a type of acid that attacks enamel therefore it weakens enamel and overtime causes cavities. Dentin- makes up the bulk of the tooth and lies under enamel. It covers the pulp and the color may range from gray to yellow usually penetrating through the enamel. Dentin is composed of mineralized connective tissue like enamel but it is softer. It is necessary for the support of enamel.
It also serves as a cushion to protect enamel from breaking. Pulp- is found at the center of the tooth. It is composed of nerves and blood vessels that provide nutrients to the tooth. And since it is made up of these structures, the pulp is soft and vulnerable without the protection of enamel and dentin. At the tip of the pulp we can find what is called as the “apex” of the root, this is a small opening where blood vessels and nerves pass through. Cementum- is a bone like connective tissue located around the root. It helps support the teeth by providing a place of attachment to the other tissues that surround the teeth in the socket.