Many people say their most valuable asset is their white teeth and smile – but what are our teeth actually made of? What makes them shine, sparkle and sit straight in our mouths? Aside from providing a look into what make our teeth -well teeth – learning about the anatomy of a tooth can also help you better care for them and prevent diseases that could jeopardize your smile.
What makes up a tooth?
Each individual tooth is made up of several layers. The deepest layer, the pulp, is where your nerves and root canal lie. This is the soft and “living” layer. Encasing the pulp cavity is the dentin. Dentin is made up of cells that produce a hard, mineral substance to protect the pulp cavity. Surrounding the dentin is the tooth enamel. The enamel is primarily made up of calcium phosphate, which gives it the hard outer shell. The enamel surface can be stained or weakened by foods, acidic drinks or poor brushing and flossing habits.
How many teeth do I actually have?
Every adult should have 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, 8 molars and 4 wisdom teeth. Your incisors are your middle teeth on the top and bottom. The canines are located directly next to your incisors. The premolars come before your molars and if you have room leftover, your wisdom teeth fill in behind your backmost molars. In some cases, people are born with fewer teeth.
How do they anchor into the jaw?
Our teeth are attached into our mouths by the shape of the external roots as they fit into the gums and extent into the jaw. The root, which contains the pulp cavity, flows directly into the gum line and then into the jaw where blood flow occurs.
What are the most common tooth conditions?
Cavities, tooth decay, periodontitis, gingivitis, plaque, tartar buildup, sensitivity, overbites, underbites and teeth grinding are the most common tooth ailments. While overbites, underbites and wisdom teeth growth patterns are controlled by genetics and jaw shape, the other conditions are often caused from poor oral hygiene and can be prevented with regular trips to the dentist for cleanings, proper brushing skills and frequent flossing.
In order to better care for your smile and oral health, it is important to understand the anatomy of your smile. Protect your pearly whites and avoid larger medical issues caused by poor dental hygiene by caring for your teeth. For more complex oral challenges such as wisdom teeth removal or implants, contact Jessen Oral Surgery.