Keeping your teeth healthy is vital to your body’s overall health and wellness. We use them to eat, but we also need them to speak clearly, smile confidently, and project our best selves to the world. Taking care of our teeth begins with understanding their anatomy. The more we know about our teeth, the better we can provide the optimum care that will ensure they function well throughout our lives.
What Exactly Are Teeth Made Of?
At first glance, teeth look rather simple and straightforward. In reality, though, they are complex structures made of layers that each serves an important purpose.
Layers of a Tooth
Enamel: The outermost layer of a tooth is called the enamel. This is the part that we can see. Ideally, enamel is uniformly white, but food stains, genetics, and aging can, unfortunately, discolor enamel.
- Why It Matters: Enamel does much more than make our teeth look good. As the hardest substance in our body, enamel provides an important layer of protection for the rest of the tooth. This protective coating does not grow back, however, so taking care of it is of utmost importance to maintaining good oral health.
- What We Can Do: Plaque is a layer of bacteria that forms on our enamel and erodes it if we do not remove it. Brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and getting your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist every six months are the best ways to keep plaque from damaging your enamel.
Dentin: This middle layer of the tooth is considerably softer than enamel. Millions of tiny tubes are found in the dentin layer, all of which lead to the nerve system of the tooth.
- Why It Matters: Dentin serves as the last defense for your tooth. If decay attacks the enamel, it next has to make its way through the dentin layer before it can reach the heart of the tooth. Because it is much softer than enamel, however, you may begin to notice if it is being attacked because it is more sensitive and may cause you greater pain.
- What We Can Do: If you notice tooth sensitivity, it may be from tooth decay reaching the dentin layer so contact your dentist immediately. Pain is a useful signal in the mouth that you should pay attention to instead of ignoring. The sooner you seek treatment, the greater the likelihood that you can save your tooth.
Pulp: The innermost layer of the tooth is called the pulp because it is soft and fleshy. The pulp contains all of the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth, making it extremely sensitive if exposed or attacked.
- Why It Matters: The pulp of the tooth contains the living part of the tooth, so if it is compromised, the tooth is at risk of dying.
- What We Can Do: If you are experiencing intense tooth pain, the pulp of a tooth is likely infected. Visit your dentist immediately to have it treated or you may risk losing the tooth.
The team at Babylon Dental Care provides top-notch cosmetic and general dentistry services to patients across New York. Find out why so many people choose Dr. Clifford Brown, Dr. Stephen Peck, Dr. Harold Gaynes and our team of skilled associates to help them keep their teeth healthy and their smiles looking great all year long! Contact us at (631) 983-665 to schedule an appointment with us today.