ABC of Tooth

A B C    O F    A    T O O T H


BONE - the roots of your teeth are anchored by bone. Healthy teeth stimulate and keep bone tissue healthy.

CEMENTUM - It is a thin layer of bone-like tissue that protects the root of a tooth.

CROWN - this is the part of the tooth you can see above the gumline.

DENTINE - An ivory-like substance, it forms the second layer of a tooth and is softer than enamel.

ENAMEL - It is the hardest tissue in our body and forms the outer layer of a tooth.

GUM - This coral pink fibrous tissue covers the teeth and roots and supports the bone below. It absorbs the pressure exerted while chewing. Dentists call this the "gingiva". When you brush your teeth after meals and floss daily, you keep this tissue healthy. That's important, because gum disease can cause bone loss. Gum disease can also expose the tooth roots to decay. If root decay affects the pulp, you may need root canal treatment.

NERVE - This is cord like structure with fibers which carry messages (such as pain, touch, etc.) from the tooth to the brain.

PERIODONTAL LIGAMENT - like the springs that hold a trampoline to its frame, this tissue supports the tooth and holds it in place in the bony socket surrounding the tooth.This tissue cushions both the tooth and the surrounding bone against the shock of chewing and biting.

PULP - The most vital part of a tooth, it contains nerves and blood vessels.

ROOT - A tooth can have 1, 2 or 3 roots. This is the hidden part of a tooth beneath the gums. It contains root canals which contains the pulp. The root of your tooth is usually twice as long as the crown, the part you see above the gumline.


Incisors: cut food into small particles.
Canines: pointed and sharp for tearing food.
Premolar: for crushing food particles.
Molar: to grind food for better digestion.

There are two types of dentition. In the early years a child has 20 milk teeth: 8 incisors, 4 canines and 8 molars. These are also called primary teeth.

Children lose all of their milk teeth between the ages of 6 and 11, and their permanent or secondary teeth appear as the primary teeth are shed.

An adult has 32 permanent teeth, 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars and 12 molars. The last 4 molars are commonly known as wisdom teeth as they appear much later during the teens or even adult years.