You depend on your teeth every day, but what do you really know about them? Here at Overmeyer Family Dental in Orlando, FL, we believe knowledge of how your teeth are made and how they work will give you a greater understanding of the importance oral health. That is why we want to use this blog to give you an overview of the anatomy of your teeth.
What Are the Parts of the Tooth?
Crown and Root – Your tooth can divided into two parts, the crown and the root. The part of the tooth you see above the gumline is the crown, which is responsible for biting and chewing, as well as smiling and helping out with speech.
The root, which makes up two-thirds of the tooth, hold the tooth securely in place. It is planted firmly into your gums and jawbone, and unless you experience a dental injury or some serious gum disease, you will never see the root of your tooth.
Enamel – You may surprised to learn that the enamel covering your teeth is the hardest substance in your body, harder even than bone. This makes sense if you think about the near constant use and abuse your teeth endure. With all the chewing and grinding your teeth are required to do day in and day out, it is no wonder your enamel has to be so hard.
But as hard as your enamel is, it is still vulnerable to decay, especially from the acid created when dental caries feeds on food sugar in your mouth. When your enamel is compromised your whole tooth becomes exposed to the dangers of decay.
Dentin – Under your enamel, you have a layer of porous material known as dentin. Although it is not as hard as enamel, it is still harder than bone. This gives your tooth another strong layer of protection before you get to the sensitive center. Dentin is filled with holes and canals, though, so if liquid or air get past your enamel, you could experience some pain and sensitivity.
Pulp – At the center of your tooth lies the fleshy pulp, which contains several tiny blood vessels and nerve endings. If tooth decay gets past the two protective layers, it cause cause some serious damage in the pulp. In fact, if the tooth decay progresses to that extent, a root canal may be your only chance to save the tooth, if there is anything left to save.
Cementum – Since your root is not exposed to the dangers of the outside world, it is not covered in enamel or dentin. Instead, it is covered in cementum, a thin yellow material similar to bone. The cementum, in turn, is covered with a membrane of gum tissue that helps anchor your root to your gums and jaw.
What Are the Types of Teeth and What Do They Do?
Incisor – Your eight front teeth, top and bottom, are flat and wide and very prominent when you smile. Your incisors are used to cut food when you bite, as well as aid in speech.
Cuspid/Canine – These are the fang-like teeth that flank your incisors. They hold food in place as you bite and tear. Cuspids are also essential for a full and beautiful smile, although they are less important for speech.
Bicuspid/Premolar – Moving towards the back of your mouth, your bicuspids are named for their two points, or cusps. These teeth, which smash and grind food as you chew, are somewhat visible when you smile, especially in a wide grin.
Molar – Your back teeth are also used for smashing and grinding food. Although they are seldom visible when you smile, they still affect your appearance. Without your molars, your jawbone will lose density, which will change the shape of your face, often aging you prematurely.
Taking Care of Your Teeth In Orlando, FL
Regular visits to Overmeyer Family Dental will allow us to help you keep your teeth healthy and beautiful, so don’t put off your next visit. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.