There are not a whole lot of things in life we are guaranteed to get a second chance to do. Teeth are one of the exceptions. We get two sets of teeth over time. That is what diphyodont means – developing two sets of teeth. Teeth are something we take for granted until one becomes loose or begins to hurt. But teeth are another one of the body’s systems, interconnected with all the other systems that keep us alive. Teeth anatomy is an interesting subject and if you understand what composes a tooth, then you will be more likely to care properly for this very useful tool nature has give us.
Most of us probably think of teeth as being designed with mostly enamel, but studying teeth anatomy proves otherwise. The first teeth that we get as a baby grow at about 6 months of age. There are 20 teeth, and they only stay with us for somewhere between 6 and 12 years. The roots of those teeth disintegrate, the ‘baby teeth fall out, and eventually you end up with 32 permanent teeth. These teeth will last us the rest of our life if we take care of them with good oral hygiene. There are different kinds of teeth and each serves a different purpose.
- Incisors are sharp but shaped more like a chisel and are used for cutting>
- Cuspids are sharp also but come to a point and are used for tearing
- Premolars have cusps (2) that are used for crushing and tearing
- Molars finish the job by grinding
Eating is more than chewing than swallowing. When we put that food in our mouth, a process starts whereby your teeth prepare the food so that you do not choke when you swallow. Like a little production line, the food moves from one set of teeth to another with each step crushing the food further for ease of swallowing. Caring for our teeth is crucial, and understanding teeth anatomy will make us more appreciative of the enameled wonders in our mouth.
So how are our teeth assembled? What is teeth anatomy? There are different types of tissue in our teeth.
- The crown is the very top of the tooth that we can see when you open your mouth
- The root is the part of the tooth that is below the gum level
- Enamel is formed of calcium and phosphate and surrounds the inner tooth structure. It is the outer layer of the tooth and is very hard though not indestructible.
- Dentin is a layer directly under the enamel. It makes up most of the tooth.
- Pulp is the very center of the tooth. When your tooth hurts it is the nerve tissue in the pulp that aches. The pulp also contains blood vessels.
- Cementum is a very thin layer that is composed of hard material for holding the tooth to the jaw.
The blood vessels in the pulp run down the length of the tooth root and connect with blood vessels and nerves in the jaw. So you can see that teeth anatomy is not as simple as you would imagine. They have developed over thousands of years to help us fulfill a most basic human need – the need for nourishment.