Composition

How much do you know about your teeth?

Your teeth begin to grow while you're still a baby inside your mother's womb. While they are not visible until a few years after birth when they "erupt" or come up from within the gums, they are there. Baby teeth, or primary teeth grow in and fall out in the same order and are replaced with permanent, or adult teeth. Your permanent teeth will be the teeth you have for the rest of your life. If you lose an adult tooth, it may be able to be re-attached at the root if you see a dentist immediately. In many cases, a permanent permanent tooth means a fake tooth, such as a dental implant will be needed to replace the lost, natural tooth.

Your teeth are able to withstand much wear and tear as well as grinding and pressure. What makes teeth so hard and long-lasting? It likely has something to do with their composition.

Each tooth is made up of enamel, dentin and cementum and each tooth has a dental pulp.

Tooth Enamel

The part of the teeth you're most familiar with is the tooth enamel. This is the hard, translucent, outer covering of the tooth. It is this part of the tooth that cavities can destroy and leave the tooth vulnerable to further decay and disease. The enamel is said to be the hardest and most mineral-packed substance of the body. Tooth enamel is made up of mostly minerals, with some organic compounds and water. The enamel is the thickest (and strongest) at the cusp of the tooth and is weakest along the tooth edges.

As we age, the years of use abuse and wear and tear, the enamel slowly wears off in what is called attrition.

What is enamel made of? Crystalline calcium phosphate called hydroxyapatite accounts for most of the minerals found in tooth enamel. These minerals give teeth their strength, as well as their brittleness. Enamel also does not contain collagen like other parts of the tooth. Tuftelins, ameloblastsins, ameloblenins and enamelins are proteins that help develop enamel.

Dentin

Underneath the enamel is a porous, yellowish material called dentin. It is this material that gives teeth their classic yellow, or preferably white color. Dentin is made up of inorganic and organic materials as well as water. It is made of mineralized connective tissue and collagen proteins. Dentinogenesis, or … More