Tooth Anatomy, a closer look
Tooth: The left side of the image is the exterior view, and the right side is the interior graphic.
1. Enamel: Hard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of the tooth.
2. Anatomical Crown: That portion of tooth covered by, and including, enamel.
3. Gingiva (gums): Soft tissues overlying the crowns of the unerupted teeth and encircling the necks of those that have erupted.
4. Pulp Chamber: The space occupied by the pulp.
5. Neck: The area where the crown joins the root.
6. Dentin: That part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum.
7. Alveolar Bone (jawbone): The part of the jaw that surround the roots of the teeth.
8. Root Canal: The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth; the chamber within the root of the tooth that contains the pulp.
9. Cementum: Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root, giving attachment to the periodontal ligament.
10. Periodontal Ligament: A system of collagenous connective tissue fibers that connect the root of a tooth to its alveolus.
*Sources based on part of the American Dental Association.
More on enamel.
Did you know that enamel is the single hardest tissue of the human body? Obviously it has to be pretty hard, since the teeth are the little buggers doing all the hard work grinding up our food for digestion. In fact, once a cavity (caused by the acidity of the toxins that bacteria produce in your mouth) goes past that hardest substance (the enamel) it arrives at the dentin. Dentin, which surrounds the pulp and root canals of the tooth, is not as solid as the enamel of the tooth, and, in fact, has microscopic canals running all through it. Once the cavity gets to the dentin, the process of decay is sped up quite dramatically and in just a very short time, the bacteria and toxins could reach the root of the tooth and cause not only pain, but also infection, which if left untreated can produce abscess in the jawbone or at the root of the tooth.
More on the gingiva (gums).
Now, the plaque in your mouth which hardens into dental tartar or calculus, can do some pretty harmful things to your gums as well. The same toxins that the bacteria produce that decay the teeth, also infect the gums, which will make them swollen, red, and prone to bleeding when you brush your teeth. Over time the gum itself will try to pull away from the teeth that have the plaque and tartar surrounding it, as is the bodies response to infection, and you will get a recession of the gums. When this happens it actually opens up the possibility for deeper infection as there is now more space between the teeth and surrounding gums.
It is strongly recommended that you come in for regular dental cleanings and checkups. When the above occurs, over time, you will even get jaw bone resorption. This is irreversible, unless you get bone grafting to correct it. When bone resorption occurs, it gives your teeth less stability and will result in the teeth becoming loose, and even tooth loss.
Other health concerns arise when oral hygiene is not observed. So, do yourself a favor, and ensure that you do come in for your regular checkups.
Good ol’ teeth.
These precious commodities in your mouth are pretty darn strong, and they need to last you a lifetime. As mentioned earlier, enamel is the strongest substance in your body, and as long as you keep that plaque off your teeth, and brush and floss every day, you can go a long way in maintaining a healthy smile and healthy teeth for a very many years to come.
The health of your mouth mirrors the health of your body. You need just as much focus on tooth and gum health as you put on, say, your nutrition, or exercise habits.
I hope you found this informative!
Stay healthy my friends.