Get To Know Your Smile: Tooth Anatomy 101

When you look in the mirror and flash your pearly whites, do you ever wonder what makes up those bone-like structures inside your mouth? Your teeth may seem simple, but they have an intricate anatomy that works hard every day to help you eat, speak, and smile. Understanding the different parts of your teeth can help you better care for your oral health.

Enamel Protects Your Teeth

Enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth. It’s the hardest substance in the human body — even stronger than your bones! Made of minerals like calcium, enamel shields the sensitive inner layers of each tooth from damage. This protective coating is naturally light, which gives your teeth color.

Some people’s enamel is thinner than others, which can lead to the appearance of naturally yellow teeth. While this isn’t dangerous, it can make you feel self-conscious. Luckily, teeth-whitening treatments are available that can easily brighten your smile.

Enamel faces the most wear and tear while you bite and chew. Small cracks can develop over time, allowing bacteria inside to cause decay. That’s why it’s important to strengthen your enamel daily with good brushing habits.

Dentin Makes Up the Bulk of Your Teeth

Underneath the enamel lies the dentin, a thick, hard tissue that comprises the majority of each tooth.

Think of dentin as the supportive bones that provide your teeth’ structure. It contains microscopic tubules with nerve endings inside, making dentin sensitive to stimuli.

For instance, when you take a bite of ice cream, the cold sensation travels from those tubules in the dentin up through the nerves in your teeth. The enamel blocks most of this sensation. But if decay reaches the dentin, the teeth become extremely painful.

The Pulp Nourishes Your Teeth from Within

At the very center of your teeth is the pulp, filled with blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. The pulp cavities run down through the roots as well, supplying nutrients that keep your teeth alive. These nutrients also bring in new cells that help dentin regenerate if the outer layers get damaged.

But bacteria that reach the pulp can cause dangerous infections. Getting treatment quickly is vital should your tooth develop an abscess, requiring either a root canal or extraction to remove the infected pulp.

Get a Smile You Love

A beautiful smile should be a healthy one, too. By working with the team at Galleria Dental Aesthetics in McLean, VA, you can ensure that the highest caliber of oral health care backs your cosmetic dental treatments.

Call 703-448-1020 today to learn more about our services or request an appointment through our contact page.

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