Anatomy of a Tooth

Each tooth is made up of:

Basic composition

Each tooth can be simply divided into crown and root, the clinical crown being that part of the tooth which is visible within the mouth and the root being that which is not.

The majority of the crown is composed of dentine surrounded by enamel with an inner pulp chamber; the root is also composed mainly of dentine with pulp channels within. The pulp contains the neurovascular structures of the tooth, and it is here where dental pain originates.

The surface of the tooth responsible for the chewing or cutting of food is known as the occlusal surface. These surfaces often contain elevations known as cusps, contributing a significant proportion of the tooth’s surface.

Surrounding structures

The teeth are maintained within the mandible and maxilla by the periodontium, this is comprised of four tissues, alveolar bone, cementum, gingiva and the periodontal ligament (PDL).

The alveolar bone is the thickened ridge of bone that contains the tooth sockets.

The PDL attaches the tooth to the alveolar bone in which it sits. The PDL has a role in the stabilisation of the tooth during chewing and also has propioceptive properties.

The gums (gingiva) are composed of dense fibrous tissue, closely connected to the periosteum of the alveolar processes, and surrounding the necks of the teeth.