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The Anatomy Of Teeth: More than just Enamel and Root Canals

They’re an integral part of everyday life, used for eating, laughing, smiling, breathing and speaking, yet it’s surprising how many of us are in the dark about the individual parts that make up our teeth. Told to care for these odd white bumps in our mouths since first they started sprouting from our tender pink gums, we do so without any consideration for the actual elements of which they are composed.

What Kinds Of Teeth Are There?

Let’s start with the fact that we have more than one kind of tooth, and each style of tooth is there to serve a different job. In total there are four kinds of teeth, including:

  • Incisors – Eight of these sharp teeth can be found in our mouths, four on the bottom and four on the top in the front of our mouths. Their sharp edges enable cutting through food.
  • Canines – Also known as cuspids, these teeth are the pointy ones that frame our incisors and serve the function of holding onto our food and tearing off pieces.
  • Premolars – Bearing two points on the biting surface of the tooth, these teeth serve the function of tearing and crushing food.
  • Molars – These are located in the back of the mouth and have several points, known as cusps, on the surface. These teeth are primarily used for grinding and chewing food.


Introducing: The Different Parts Of The Tooth

While all of the above teeth have different purposes and different shapes, they all share a few common elements that make them teeth. No matter what kind of tooth we’re talking about, they all have:

  • Crown – This is the most visible part of the tooth, existing above the gumline. When you brush your teeth to remove plaque and tartar, this is the part you’re brushing.
  • Gumline – This is the place where the crown enters the gumline to become the root and is the place where gum diseases and gingivitis start to make their appearance.
  • Root – This portion of the tooth is the one secured in the bone of your jaw, and makes up roughly 66% of your tooth. This portion of the tooth is responsible for securing it in place.
  • Enamel – This is the outer layer of your tooth, comprised of the hardest material in the body. Still, proper care is necessary to prevent it from becoming damaged by decay.
  • Dentin – Beneath the enamel lay dentin, a porous substance slightly softer than enamel that houses the dental pulp.
  • Pulp – Here is the heart of the tooth, containing blood vessels and nerve tissue. If decay should reach the pulp, pain is typically experienced.

These are all the types of teeth you have in your mouth and the materials of which they’re made. Many people fail to realize that the tooth is such a complex and multilayered part of the body, but these components together make your teeth resilient, lifelong companions if properly cared for.