Tooth Anatomy 101
If you’re going to a dental clinic in Dallas, TX , to have a minor dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction or painless root canal, you may wish to know the basics of a tooth’s anatomy. Knowing the components of your pearly whites may lead to a greater appreciation of the important work that they do.
The only part of your tooth structure that is visible is the crown. This is the white part of the tooth that has erupted out of the gum line. You might have heard the term “dental crown” regarding a dental treatment. Your dentist can permanently affix a prosthetic crown to take the place of your natural crown if your tooth was fractured. You’ll also receive a permanent dental crown after undergoing a root canal.
Your natural crown is coated with a hard layer of enamel. In fact, the enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but it is still susceptible to damage. You can protect your enamel and prevent tooth decay by brushing your teeth at least twice per day, flossing at least once daily, and seeing your dentist every six months. Be sure to use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash, since fluoride strengthens the enamel.
The dentin lies underneath the enamel. It’s softer than the enamel. Dentin contains lots of tiny tubules that lead to the pulp in the middle of the tooth.
The center of each of your teeth features a very soft material called pulp. The pulp contains the tiny blood vessels and nerve tissue. If tooth decay, which is an infection, reaches the dentin, the bacteria can travel through the tubules to reach the pulp. Since the pulp contains nerves, an infection that travels this far will cause pain.
Part of your tooth is anchored directly into your jawbone. This is the root of the tooth. Although you can’t see it, the root comprises about two-thirds of your tooth. It’s essential for keeping your tooth anchored in place.
The gums aren’t part of your teeth, but they are an important indicator of your oral health. Gums that are healthy are pink and firm. They adhere well against the teeth and they feel firm to the touch. Gums that are unhealthy are red, receding back from the teeth, and bleed upon brushing or flossing. These are signs of gum disease.