What are Teeth Made of?

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We use our teeth daily for eating and speaking. We floss, we brush, and then we smile brightly into our bathroom mirrors to make sure we didn’t miss a spot. But what are your pearly whites made out of?

Tissue

There are four layers of tissue that make up a tooth. Enamel, dentin and cementum are hard tissues that make up the outer layers of a tooth. The innermost layer (or core) of your tooth is composed of a soft tissue called pulp.

  • Enamel
  • Dentin
  • Cementum
  • Pulp
Tooth Anatomy

Enamel is a strong but thin mineral layer. If your enamel wears away, a tooth can become exposed to decay. Foods and beverages that are acidic or sugary (coffee, soda, candy) will cause a faster attrition (or erosion) of your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth after meals or drinking water can help prevent this.

Next is dentin. Dentin is a hard tissue which is calcified, but just a bit softer than the layer of enamel. It is more susceptible to decay and cavities. Dentin is still more dense and harder than bone, though, which makes it strong enough to support your tooth’s structure. Dentin also protects your nerves and blood vessels which connect your tooth through the roots.

Covering the root of your tooth is cementum. Softer than dentin and enamel, cementum establishes a tooth’s stability and attaches to the periodontal ligament. This ligament joins the tooth with the jawbone.

The core of the tooth is the pulp. This soft medium for nerves and blood vessels is essential to the life and health of your tooth. If decay reaches this far in, a tooth will often die and need to be extracted.

By understanding how the different layers of your teeth work together and depend on each other, you can better prevent decay.

Come visit Dr. Jone at Pacific Sky Dental to learn more about taking care of your teeth!

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Posted on behalf of Dr. Raymond Jone, Pacific Sky Dental