Parts of the tooth

  • crown – the part of the tooth that sits above the gum line
  • enamel – the hard outer layer that protects the crown. This calcified material is harder than bone and doesn’t have any nerves or a blood supply. It is usually smooth and off-white in colour. Chipped or decayed enamel cannot grow back
  • dentine – most of the tooth is made up of dentine. It is a hard bone-like substance. If the protective layer of enamel is damaged, and the underlying dentine is exposed, the tooth will be sensitive to temperature, and sweet and acidic foods. A tooth which has exposed dentine may also be at greater risk of tooth decay
  • pulp – the living centre of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. The nerves communicate sensory information such as temperature, pressure and pain
  • root – the section of tooth that sits below the gum line. The root is held firmly within the bone of the jaw by connective tissue. Depending on its size, a tooth will have between one and three roots. Each root has a small hole at the tip, to let nerves and blood vessels pass in and out of the pulp
  • cementum – a hard material that covers the root surface.

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