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John P. Goodman DDS

Understanding the Anatomy of a Tooth: Patient Information

By Dr. John Goodman on January 24, 2017

The anatomy of a toothDental problems take many different forms. Sometimes patients are dealing with tooth decay. Other times the issue is gum disease. Regardless what the issue is, there's a restorative dentistry treatment that can help. The initial diagnosis is key, and it involves an assessment of the teeth and gums how they differ from the norm.

Many people think that their teeth are totally solid and made of a single material. Both of these assumptions are false. Teeth have different layers to them, and a compromise in one layer can lead to a host of other problems. The team at our Kansas City practice would like to consider the anatomy of the teeth right now.

The Anatomy of a Tooth Matters

The anatomy of a tooth matters so much because various dental problems can be diagnosed and effectively treated by determining which layer of layers of tooth structure are impacted. From there a proper plan of action can be devised.

With that in mind, let's now consider the layers of a tooth's structure.

Tooth Enamel: The Outer Layer

The outermost layer of a tooth is comprised of tooth enamel. Enamel is one of the hardest substances in the human body. While it's very durable, it's not indestructible. It's possible for oral bacteria to slowly eat away at the tooth enamel. In addition, heightened acidity in the mouth can weaken enamel and cause it to get worn away.

Dentin: Beneath the Tooth Enamel

Beneath the tooth enamel is a later of dentin. Dentin is sturdy, but it's not as strong as enamel. Dentin is also porous, and the small holes of the dentin are referred to as dentinal tubules. These dentinal tubules help your teeth detect pressure as well as hot and cold temperatures. Dentin makes up most of a tooth's overall structure.

The Pulp Chamber: The Center of a Tooth

The inside layer of a tooth is actually hollow. Inside of this hollow chamber is a substance known as dental pulp. The dental pulp is comprised of blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves, all of which were essential for the initial formation and maturation of the tooth.

When a tooth is badly decayed or fractured, it's possible for the soft tissue inside of the tooth to become infected. This is referred to as a root canal infection, and it can be extremely painful.

Crown, Root, and Gumline

With the different layers of the tooth covered, let's now consider the tooth itself, specifically what people see when you smile and the part of the tooth covered up by your gums.

The visible portion of the teeth is known as the crown. The crown is that bright, white, enamel-covered part of the tooth essential for biting and chewing.

Beneath your gums is the root structure of the tooth. The roots go down and are embedded into the jawbone.

The roots are not as strong as the crown of the teeth and are intended to be covered by the gums. If your gumline receded, this can cause serious tooth sensitivity, among other dental health problems. Your dentist will assess the state of your smile as well as the different layers tooth structure when creating a dental treatment.

Learn More About Your Dental Care Needs

For more information about your dental care needs and how we can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve excellent dental health.

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Kansas City, MO 64116

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