Our teeth are an essential part of our daily lives and would be almost impossible to live
without. They provide us with the ability to speak, chew, and play an important role in our
facial structures, giving us a full and youthful look.
Knowing the different parts of a tooth can help us better understand our teeth and hopefully
take better care of them! Here are the different parts of a tooth.
The outermost layer of your tooth is made up of enamel, which is the hardest substance in the
human body. The visible part of your tooth that the enamel covers is called the crown of the
Tooth enamel is your tooth’s first defense against decay and bacteria. Although it can’t regrow
once it’s been fully formed, it can re-mineralize, helping it remain strong against cavities that
result from tooth decay.
Enamel is translucent, shiny, and protects your teeth from decay and sensitivity to hot and cold
Cementum is a hard tissue covering your tooth roots, or the part of the tooth that rests below
the gumline. This material is typically a pale yellowish color.
Although not as sturdy as enamel, it does have a bone-like consistency. When cementum
becomes exposed due to gum recession, it can be extremely sensitive to hot and cold, making
tooth sensitivity a symptom of receding gum tissue.
Like cementum, dentin isn’t as hard as enamel. Unlike cementum, dentin makes up the majority
of your tooth.
Dentin rests underneath your enamel and cementum and maintains a bone-like consistency
much like cementum. Dentin protects the inner chamber of the tooth, which contains the pulp,
and can be extremely sensitive to both bacteria and temperatures if the enamel is not there to
This is why people who have compromised tooth enamel due to decay or teeth grinding tend to
have more cavities and sensitive teeth.
The pulp is in the heart of the tooth and contains the only soft tissue of the tooth. Everything
the tooth needs to live is in the pulp, including its blood supply and nerves.
The pulp resides in two places: the pulp chamber, which is in the crown of the tooth, and the
pulp canals, which extend down into the roots of the tooth.
The tooth’s pulp is an extremely sensitive area that is susceptible to infection if it becomes
damaged, which can lead to the death of the tooth. If this happens, you’ll likely need root canal
therapy to keep your tooth, or an extraction may be required.
Understanding more about your tooth’s structure can help you better understand how decay
works and how important it is to protect your teeth from damage. Eating a healthy nutritious
diet and keeping up with your oral care routine can help your teeth do what they do
naturally—resist bacteria and tooth decay for a healthy smile!