Parts of a Tooth and Their Functions

In order to best protect our teeth from damage, it is helpful to fully understand the different parts of a tooth and the function each performs.

The tooth is actually quite complicated, with many different parts. Understanding the tooth better helps people understand how and why they become damaged and how to best prevent tooth issues from occurring.

Different parts of a tooth

There are four main parts of a tooth: the enamel, dentin, root and pulp. The following is an in-depth analysis of each tooth part and the function it serves.

Enamel

The tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth and the part of the tooth most visible by others. Enamel is the second hardest substance on Earth, behind only diamonds.

The tooth enamel serves to protect the deeper layers of our teeth from harmful acid and bacteria. Since it is the first line of defense for our teeth, it is important to protect our enamel the best we possibly can.

The best way to do so is to practice good oral hygiene and properly utilize fluoride treatment.

Dentin

Dentin is the layer directly underneath tooth enamel. While dentin is much thicker than enamel, it is far more susceptible to erosion brought on by harmful bacteria.

The main function that dentin performs as it pertains to tooth health is to serve as the second line of defense to the deeper nerves and tissue of the tooth. When dentin is harmed and eroded, it causes serious dental concerns.

If the tooth enamel erodes, it is important to seek dental care to ensure the dentin is not also damaged.

Root

The root is the largest and deepest part of the tooth, and it is also the most essential. When the tooth root becomes damaged, it often leads to severe pain, a loss of tooth function and in many instances, tooth loss.

The tooth root is the part of the tooth directly embedded into the jawbone, holding the tooth firmly in place. Subsequently, the tooth root plays a vital role in our ability to properly place pressure without the tooth falling out, which is useful while biting, chewing and talking.

Periodontal disease and various other gum issues is one of the leading causes of tooth root problems, and any concerns with the tooth root require dental care as soon as possible.

Pulp

Tooth pulp is very delicate and requires protection, as a problem with the tooth pulp can cause serious oral health concerns and can be very painful. It consists of soft tissue that holds the blood and nerve supply to the tooth. Pulp extends all the way from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root.

The most common oral health concern with tooth pulp is an infection, which can lead to infected pulp and the need for a root canal, which removes and replaces the infected pulp.

Request an appointment here: https://www.erikwinndds.com or call Winn Dental Practice at (805) 920-2133 for an appointment in our Santa Barbara office.

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