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Have you ever wondered, “Are teeth bones?” While teeth and bones may share some similarities, like being made of strong materials and sharing the same color, they are not the same. At first glance, a tooth may seem like a simple structure. Really, it is composed of several intricate layers. From the outer enamel to the inner pulp, each part plays an important role in everyday functions.

Let’s break down the hard and soft tissues – into bite size pieces if you will – that allow us to chew, speak, and maintain a healthy facial structure.

Beneath the Surface

  • Crown: This is the top part of the tooth. This is what you can see when you smile!
  • Root: This is the part of the tooth that’s hidden under your gums. The root holds each tooth tightly to your jawbone. Fun fact! Our bodies have special cells that slowly wear down the roots of our baby teeth. Eventually, the root disappears, the tooth falls out, the tooth fairy visits, and our adult teeth form!
  • Enamel: The outside layer of the crown is called enamel. It’s the strongest part of your whole body—stronger than bone! Its job is to protect the inner layers of your tooth from bacteria and damage caused by chewing and biting.
  • Dentin: Underneath the enamel, there’s a layer called dentin. Its main function is to support the enamel, but it is also responsible for transmitting messages from the enamel to pulp. When pressure is applied to the enamel (like when you bite down), dentin lets your nerves know what’s happening so you can feel the impact of your bite.
  • Pulp: In the middle of the tooth, there’s soft tissue called pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels. Pulp delivers nutrients and oxygen to your teeth, keeping them alive! It is also responsible for sensing hot, cold, and pain.
  • Cementum: Finally, we reach the cementum. This is a hard layer that covers the root and, like the name suggests, cements the root to your jawbone.

There sure are many parts to the tiny pieces we have in our mouth! And they are not made from bone. Also conversely from bones, teeth cannot heal themselves, which is why it’s important to take care of them. To keep your teeth healthy and strong, remember to:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day–morning and night.
  • Floss once a day to clean between your teeth.
  • Visit your Smile dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.