Anatomy of Teeth


You chomp with them. You brush and floss them. You flash them when you smile. But how much do you really know about teeth? Let's take a close look at the anatomy of your pearly whites.


The part of the tooth that you can see is called the "crown." Each tooth has a crown that's shaped for its role. For example, the teeth in the front (called the "incisors") are for biting, so their crowns are thin and sharp. The teeth in the back of your mouth (called the "molars") are for chewing. Their crowns are flat and wide.


The part of the tooth below the gum is called the "root." Incisors tend to have one root. Other teeth usually have two or three. The roots travel into the bone of your upper or lower jaw to keep your teeth stable.


Your teeth also have a few different layers. On the outside of the crown we find the "enamel." Enamel is the hardest substance in your body, so it gives your teeth a lot of strength. Covering the tooth's root is the "cementum." It helps anchor your teeth into the jaw. Beneath the enamel and the cementum is a layer we call the "dentin." Dentin is sensitive to things like "hot" and "cold." And beneath the dentin - at the tooth's core - is a layer we call the "pulp." Pulp is a soft living tissue. That's where you find the tooth's nerves and blood vessels. Pulp is the most sensitive part of the tooth.


And that's it - now you know all about the structure of your teeth! Remember to brush and floss and follow all of your dentist's advice to keep them healthy.