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4.9/5

4.9 Stars | 452 Reviews

A Crash Course in Dental Anatomy

A Crash Course in Dental Anatomy

HOW MUCH DO you know about the anatomy of your own teeth? Let’s give you a quick overview. We believe that the more our patients know, the better they’ll understand how important good dental health habits are, including brushing, flossing, and cutting back on sugary treats. Our lesson will start at the crown and work down to the roots. The visible parts of our teeth are the crowns, and they are made up of three different layers.

The Enamel

On the outside is the protective enamel layer. It is mostly composed of inorganic materials like hydroxyapatite crystals, which makes it the hardest substance in the human body. It needs to be that hard to chew a lifetime of food.

Enamel’s weakness is that despite being very hard, it is also brittle and vulnerable to acid. It cannot repair or replace itself if it is damaged or eroded too much. That’s why it’s so critical to brush and floss daily and limit the amount of acidic and sugary foods and drinks we consume. Professional cleanings are also incredibly beneficial.

The Dentin

Beneath the enamel is the dentin, which is much more like normal bone. It has a more yellow color than tooth enamel. Microscopic tubules run through it to connect the nerves at the center of the tooth with the enamel, which is how we can detect temperature changes through our teeth. If the enamel erodes, those tubules become more exposed and the nerves get much more input than they like (which is how tooth sensitivity works).

The Pulp at the Center

At the core of every tooth is the pulp chamber, which is where the blood vessels and nerves are. Pulp is the living part of a tooth. As mentioned above, it’s how we feel the temperature of our food. It’s also how we feel pain when there’s a problem with a tooth (so treat tooth pain like the natural warning sign it is and get to a dentist).

Down to the Roots

The roots of our teeth extend deep beneath our gums and are anchored firmly in our jaws. The periodontal membrane serves as a cushion between the tooth and the bone so that the pressure of chewing doesn’t damage them. Unlike crowns, roots lack protective enamel. Instead, they have the gum tissue (when it is healthy) and a calcified layer called cementum. The tip of each root has a tiny hole through which the blood vessels and nerves can access the pulp chamber.

Keeping Teeth Healthy from Crowns to Roots

From the crown of each tooth down to the supporting periodontal structures, we need to keep our teeth healthy, and that means brushing and flossing thoroughly to protect the enamel and gums. Regular dental appointments play a critical role too!

We love seeing our patients’ smiles!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Meet The Team

Experience dental care backed by expert and compassionate dentists. Trust in the skill and empathy of our dental professionals.

Our Smiles for Life Patients Know

That They Can Rely On Us
Bonnie Alioto
5/5

Cathy was very informative about the different procedures and how they would be done. They will check with my insurance and we would discuss cost after my next appointment.

Ramona Lantz
5/5

I underwent 4 hours of heavy dental work under medicated sedation due to my dental anxiety plus 2 months ago I also did the same treatment and both times went extremely well. The Drs were nice and explained everything so my anxiety would stay in check. I’ve been a patient at Smiles for Life for over 6 years and also took my mother who suffers from advanced Parkinson’s to them for full dentures and they were fabulous 💙.

Marque Blubaugh
5/5

Listens to every concern and is caring, professional, compassionate, and understanding of every concern or situation that you have. Evaluating the entire oral structure and creating a plan and long term plan to preserve dental and overall health and peace of mind. Up to date procedures and equipment to review the entire structure and provide options to restore, preserve and have a healthy life and proper ability to eat and chew properly and to be healthy and digest a healthy diet. And to preserve teeth and avoid infections in the mouth and body . An investment, not a contined expense, which you use every day for the rest of your life. Smiles for life, and where you get life to smile.

Graham Simmerman
5/5

Cathy is delightful and skilled hygienist that I’ve counted on for nearly 20 years. Wouldn’t still be traveling nearly an hour from my new home to this dentist office if I didn’t have full confidence in Cathy.

Sue Gibson
5/5

I've always received the best care at Smiles for Life Dental Care. Faith was excellent and Dr. Macintyre is caring and a true perfectionist! I highly recommend to family and friends!

Corinne Shire
5/5

I met with Becky today to discuss implants. Her knowledge is amazing and she explained things thoroughly. My husband was in the waiting room and noticed how nice the staff was to patients coming in for treatments.

George Brinkley
5/5

Smiles For Life is the best place ever Everyone is so polite and they make you feel so comfortable and not tensed up being in a dentist chair The dental hygienist Cathy is the greatest ever She does an incredible and awesome job Thanks for all you have done for me

Terry Eck
5/5

When I embarked on my journey to find the right dental implant service, I initially gravitated towards the two prominent national brands in the field. However, my search took an unexpected and incredibly satisfying turn when I decided to explore the offerings of a local implant provider. Little did I know that this local gem would redefine my expectations of what a top-notch implant service should be like. Here's why my experience with them was nothing short of extraordinary: Meticulous Charting of Teeth and Gums: ★★★★★ One of the first things that set this local provider apart from the national giants was their unwavering commitment to precision and detail. While the big names seemed more focused on the implant procedure itself, this local gem took the time to meticulously chart the condition of my teeth and gums. This attention to detail ensured that my implant procedure was tailored to my specific needs and challenges. It was clear that they understood the importance of a solid foundation for the success of the implants. Infection Prevention Education: ★★★★★ Implant surgery is not without its risks, and one of the key concerns is the possibility of infection. What truly impressed me was the depth of information and guidance this local provider offered regarding infection prevention. They didn't just gloss over this critical aspect; they took the time to discuss the infection possibilities associated with dental implants and, more importantly, outlined a comprehensive plan to combat and mitigate such conditions. Their proactive approach to ensuring patient safety was truly reassuring. First-Year Implant Supervision: ★★★★★ Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of my experience with this local implant provider was their commitment to the long-term success of my dental implants. While the national brands seemed content with the implant procedure itself, this local provider went above and beyond by offering required supervision for the first year following the implant surgery. This level of aftercare and ongoing support was simply unparalleled and gave me peace of mind knowing that my oral health was in capable hands. In conclusion, my exploration journey for dental implants took an unexpected turn when I discovered this exceptional local implant provider. Their dedication to detail, infection prevention, and post-surgery care were nothing short of outstanding. They not only surpassed the standards set by the national brands but also redefined my expectations of what a truly exceptional implant service should encompass. If you're in search of dental implants and want an experience that goes above and beyond, I wholeheartedly recommend giving this local gem a visit. They've certainly earned my trust and gratitude.

Smile Like Never Before with a Set of Dental Implants

The perfect time is now, to take control of your smile and freshen up your look! With a set of dental implants, you can upgrade your smile like never before. Claim the confidence you deserve today with a lasting dental solution that will make you grin from ear to ear!
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What our customers say

Bonnie Alioto
5/5

Cathy was very informative about the different procedures and how they would be done. They will check with my insurance and we would discuss cost after my next appointment.

Ramona Lantz
5/5

I underwent 4 hours of heavy dental work under medicated sedation due to my dental anxiety plus 2 months ago I also did the same treatment and both times went extremely well. The Drs were nice and explained everything so my anxiety would stay in check. I’ve been a patient at Smiles for Life for over 6 years and also took my mother who suffers from advanced Parkinson’s to them for full dentures and they were fabulous 💙.

Marque Blubaugh
5/5

Listens to every concern and is caring, professional, compassionate, and understanding of every concern or situation that you have. Evaluating the entire oral structure and creating a plan and long term plan to preserve dental and overall health and peace of mind. Up to date procedures and equipment to review the entire structure and provide options to restore, preserve and have a healthy life and proper ability to eat and chew properly and to be healthy and digest a healthy diet. And to preserve teeth and avoid infections in the mouth and body . An investment, not a contined expense, which you use every day for the rest of your life. Smiles for life, and where you get life to smile.

Graham Simmerman
5/5

Cathy is delightful and skilled hygienist that I’ve counted on for nearly 20 years. Wouldn’t still be traveling nearly an hour from my new home to this dentist office if I didn’t have full confidence in Cathy.

Sue Gibson
5/5

I've always received the best care at Smiles for Life Dental Care. Faith was excellent and Dr. Macintyre is caring and a true perfectionist! I highly recommend to family and friends!

Corinne Shire
5/5

I met with Becky today to discuss implants. Her knowledge is amazing and she explained things thoroughly. My husband was in the waiting room and noticed how nice the staff was to patients coming in for treatments.