You have 32 permanent teeth as an adult, including the wisdom teeth which you may or may not have removed. They each have different functions depending on their placement within the mouth, but each has the same internal structure:
Crown: The crown is all of the tooth that you can see above the gumline. The shape of the tooth determines its function. Except for the incisors (the four upper and four lower teeth in the front), they all have cuspids. The pointy parts that help tear up food. Even the chewing molars have small cuspids, although not as pronounced.
Enamel: A protecting shield against decay, tooth enamel is the hardest tissue that the human body produces. It needs to be tough because it battles strong acids from food and drink every day. The enamel covers the crown from the tip to the gumline.
Root: Embedded in the bone of the jaw and upper mandible, the tooth root is wholly two-thirds of the tooth. It anchors the tooth and holds it in place. It is covered with cementum, a material that is not as strong as enamel, but a protection nonetheless..
Dentin: The layer underneath enamel and cementum is called dentin, it is porous and has tiny tubules that lead directly into the center of the tooth where the vessels and nerves are located.
Once breached, you will know you have progressing tooth decay when it becomes an uncomfortable toothache.
Pulp: The softest tissue in the middle of teeth where the blood vessels and nerve tissues reside. When decay infects the tooth’s inner pulp, it must be cleaned out and filled via a root canal.
If you’d like more education about the make up of your mouth and teeth, call Dr. Rex L. Bullock and our helpful team at Rex L. Bullock DDS, Inc. Phone: 951-737-1149, or come by our office in Corona, CA.