A tooth’s anatomy consists of several layers, all working together to help us chew, speak and smile! A human tooth has an enamel layer as the outermost part and a dentin layer beneath it. This is then followed by a pulp chamber at the center which contains tissue, nerves and blood vessels that provide nourishment and sensation from the tooth. Underneath, roots are embedded in the gums to stabilize the teeth and keep them in place while we eat! Together, these three core structures allow us to break down food into manageable pieces during chewing while also protecting our mouth from bacteria and other foreign objects.
Tooth enamel is the outer protective layer of our teeth, made up of a special type of calcium phosphate that’s known for its hardness. It covers both the front and back surfaces of our teeth, and its main job is to protect them from sensitivity, cavities, erosion and other damage caused by external forces. Tooth enamel works almost like armor for our teeth – it can withstand chewing pressures and retain its color against hot or cold drinks.
Dentin is the semi-translucent calcified tissue that lies beneath a tooth’s enamel. It creates the underlying part of a tooth and supports the enamel, forming an outer shell which keeps all the inner structures of the tooth intact. Dentin makes up most of a tooth’s structure and is more porous than enamel. Brushing regularly can help keep dentin healthy, but regular checkups by your dentist are also important in order to ensure healthy teeth – often cavities can form below the enamel on the dentin layer if not caught in time.
Tooth pulp is the inner core of a tooth, and it’s made up of several types of connective tissues and cells. It includes blood vessels, neurons, and a large number of nerves that enable the tooth to sense hot and cold temperatures, as well as touch. The pulp supplies nutrition for the roots of teeth and forms dentin, which helps protect the roots from decay and disease. When you have a cavity or other dental issue that requires a filling or root canal therapy, your dentist will remove part or all of your tooth pulp in order to access the damaged area so it can be treated.
Tooth vessels, also known as dental canals, are tiny channels that naturally form inside the tooth and root structure. They are made up of small tubes filled with blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic tissue which nourish the root of the tooth and help to maintain its overall health. Tooth vessels act like tiny highways that transport materials in and out of the tooth so it can function properly.
Tooth nerves, or pulpal nerves, are basically the nerve endings found in a tooth and its surrounding tissues. They provide sensation for pain, pressure, hot, cold and other tastes in addition to general touch sensations. This allows us to tell when something is wrong with our teeth or to detect potential problems such as cavities, grinding and chipping before it starts causing more serious problems. Tooth nerves also play an important role in helping us bite and chew properly so we can enjoy food without discomfort or damage.
Contact Pediatric Smiles and Braces for questions about your child’s dental health needs.