While the tooth might look like a simple structure from the outside, it’s actually incredibly complex. In fact, this basic white form that resides in a person’s mouth play a huge role in eating, speaking, and a person’s self-esteem.
The Tooth’s Basic Structure
A tooth is covered by an outer layer called enamel. It functions as a protective barrier that resists grinding and injuries, breaks food down, and protects the tooth for its entire life. Enamel is resistant to chemical and acid attacks that occur during digestion, which is make it incredibly durable.
Contrary to what many people think, enamel does not make up the entire tooth. This is because enamel is quite brittle and rigid. A tooth made up entirely of enamel would break quite easily. Instead, this material simply acts as a helmet to protect the internal components of the tooth.
What’s beneath enamel?
Underneath a tooth’s enamel shell are what’s known as dentin tubules. These millions, yes millions, of tubules run with the root structure and work to carry calcium and mineral from the blood to the tooth’s root. This helps with growth and development.
The center of the root is comprised of the pulp or nerve. It contains blood vessels, blood cells, and it the living part of a tooth.
What surrounds a tooth?
The tooth is supported through what’s called the periodontal ligament. This complex membrane is actually a part of your mouth’s own immune system! It protects the inner portion of the tooth, the pulp and nerve, from the bacteria and microorganisms on the outside of the tooth.
This ligament also functions as a suspension system that absorbs the shock and force of biting and chewing. Because of this, it is one of the most important components of the mouth.
Now, around the ligament and tooth is the actual bone it is embedded into. Healthy bone supports blood flow through blood vessels and lymph.
What is an immune membrane?
The immune membrane keeps a tooth healthy by providing immunity and allowing for mineral exchange that promotes strength and health. This is particularly important over time, as a tooth can become calcified as a person ages and it is stimulated through various dental procedures. Over time, calcification can restrict blood flow and eventually cause a tooth to become totally calcified.
Just a because a tooth is calcified doesn’t mean it is dead as the immune membrane and bone are still healthy and intact.
Your teeth are complex, that’s why they require the care of an experienced dentist. By coming in for regular cleanings, brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day you can help protect your tooth from damage and decay, and guarantee a healthy mouth for many years to come.