The Anatomy of Your Teeth: The Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth

By John Rink DDS on January 12, 2018

The anatomy of a toothThe Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry has helped many patients over the years smile with renewed confidence. That's thanks in large part to our comprehensive general dentistry services that help prevent problems with the teeth and gums.

Part of prevention is patient education, or course, which is why we take time to offer some basic insights into dental care and dental health. With this in mind, let's use this post to explore the anatomy of the teeth. You might be surprised what layers and structures are present in a single tooth.

The Tooth and the Gumline

Before looking at the layers of the teeth, let's first consider how the tooth is positioned in your mouth relative to the gums and jawbone.

  • The Crown – This is the exposed part of the tooth above the gumline.

  • The Root – This is the part of the tooth beneath/below the gumline that anchors into your jawbone.

The gums play an important role in protecting your teeth from harm. This is why gum disease and gum recession can lead to many problems when it comes to your overall dental health.

Tooth Enamel

The topmost layer of a tooth is comprised of tooth enamel. This is one of the hardest substances in the entire body. This durable outer layer of a tooth gives people the ability to bite and chew, and it protects the inner layers of tooth structure from harm.

While tooth enamel is very strong, it is not indestructible. In fact, tooth enamel can be damaged, and worn. Cavities caused by oral bacteria can eat away at healthy enamel. Physical trauma can cause chips or cracks in tooth enamel as well. If the acidity in one's mouth is high, the tooth enamel might be softened and prone to additional wear and tear.


Beneath the tooth enamel is a substance known as dentin. Dentin is not as strong as tooth enamel, and it is also porous. The pores in the dental are known as dentinal tubules. Dentin tends to be off-white and even yellowish in color.

If the dentin of a tooth is exposed, it can result in a number of problems. First of all, given the color of dentin, worn down enamel can result in tooth discoloration. In addition, exposed dentin can lead to tooth sensitivity when having hot or cold beverages because of the porous nature of this layer of the tooth.

The Dental Pulp

Inside of each tooth is a chamber filled with soft tissue known as dental pulp. Dental pulp is comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that was essential for the initial formation of the tooth. This pulp helps send signals of pressure and temperature from the tooth to the brain.

When bacteria accesses this pulp inside of a tooth, a root canal infection occurs. This condition can be very painful, and requires endodontic care or an extraction for treatment. If endodontic therapy is performed, that will mean the pulp is removed from the tooth in order to bring the infection under control.

Learn More About Dental Care Options

For more information about your dental health need, be sure to contact the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry. Our team is here to help you smile renewed confidence and improves general wellness.

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33 Gamecock Ave
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