Teeth play a fundamental role in daily life. Eating, speaking and smiling involve these elements. But have you ever wondered what teeth are made of?
Not everyone knows how these structures of the mouth are formed. Many people even assume that the dental elements are bones. In this article we will clarify what teeth are made of. So you can take better care of them and keep this part of your mouth beautiful and healthy.
Its composition includes different layers of tissues responsible for the consistency, resistance and appearance of the dental elements.
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Dental enamel is the outermost part of the crown of the teeth. This tissue is made up of hydroxyapatite, a mineral of extreme resistance, and proteins. This composition gives dental enamel the characteristic of being the hardest tissue in the human body.
Its main function is to act as a protective barrier for the innermost tissues. Thus, pathogens, chewing forces, the friction of food or very cold or very hot foods are received by this strong and resistant layer.
However, despite its great resistance, enamel is vulnerable to mineral loss. The most common cause is demineralization caused by acids generated by bacteria in the mouth, known as caries.
The passage of time, consumption of highly acidic foods or beverages or exposure to abrasive substances can also wear down the tissue. And you should know that tooth enamel, because it has no living cells, is incapable of repairing and regenerating itself.
A curious fact about enamel is that it is translucent. The yellowish-white or grayish color of the teeth depends on the tone of the dentin underneath.
Dentin is another hard tissue that forms the tooth. It constitutes the major part of the tooth structure, located both in the coronary portion, inside the enamel, and in the root, underneath the cementum.
It is made up of a hard material similar to bone. It is mainly constituted by a qualified collagen matrix. In its interior it has tubules or microscopic ducts that connect it with the pulp.
Its main function is to protect the dental pulp. In addition, its elastic properties help to resist forces of blows or traumas, protecting the enamel against fractures.
It is formed by specialized cells called odontoblasts. They are located between the dentin and the pulp, remaining in this area throughout the life of the tooth. They participate in the formation of reparative dentin and in the inflammatory, immune response and nociception processes of the tooth.
In this way, it is possible that in some specific situations it can self-repair. But due to this close relationship with the pulp tissue, any affection in its integrity or intense stimulus translates into pain or sensitivity.
As we mentioned before, it is the tissue responsible for the coloring of the dental pieces.
The dental pulp is the vital tissue of the dental elements. It is located in the innermost area of the teeth, protected by the outermost layers.
It is made up of connective tissue, blood vessels and nerve endings. For this reason, it is also often referred to as the nerve of the tooth, since pain arises from this area. Its functions include sensory transmission, nourishing the tooth and forming dentin.
The space occupied by the pulp in the tooth is called pulp chamber (in the coronary portion) and dental canals (in the root zone). The nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth through a hole at the end of the root canal. From there they extend through the entire thickness of the pulp to nourish it.
These are the areas that are cleaned and filled during root canal treatments. Practices that, in fact, are used to resolve situations of inflammation or death of the pulp tissue.
This is another of the hard tissues of the tooth. It acts as a covering for the roots, protecting the dentin of the root zone.
It also plays a key role in the support of the dental elements. It is the one that articulates with the alveolar bone through the periodontal ligament. It is composed of calcified organic tissue.
Differences with bones
Both teeth and bones are white, strong and contain large calcium deposits. For this reason, many people often treat them as the same thing.
Now that you know what teeth are made of, you can understand that there are several tissues that make up the teeth. And none of them is bone.
But there are also other characteristics that differentiate teeth from bone tissue:
- Composition: bones are made up of collagen, calcium phosphate and living cells. In addition, unlike teeth, they contain bone marrow in their interior, where blood cells are produced.
- Remodeling: Bones are in a constant remodeling process. Cells within them remove old tissue and replace it with new bone. This makes it possible to maintain healthy and strong structures. This does not happen with teeth, which, once formed, do not undergo major transformations.
- Healing: in the event of an injury or fracture, the bones are capable of generating a healing process, through a soft callus that then calcifies and can repair the wound. On the other hand, the loss of minerals from the tooth due to caries or fractures cannot self-repair and will require the attention of a dentist.