Dental Care: Anatomy of a Tooth

What is Dentistry?

The science and art of preventing and controlling the dental disease. It promotes dental health through education, personal discussion with your dentist and information to public in general. The scope of dentistry is increasing rapidly. Previously the dentist was concerned only with removal of painful teeth and their artificial replacement.

But nowadays emphasis is being placed to preserve teeth and restore the damaged and diseased teeth and gum. The new era has turned dentist technician into oral physician.

What is the Role of a Dentist?

The role of a dentist is to preserve and prevent oral (mouth) diseases of teeth, gum and jaws and supporting structures. He also advises how to keep oral hygiene up-to-date and how to avoid unnatural bad habits like chewing a betel nut, gutka and also how to look elegant.

People should seek the help of a dentist if they have following problems :

1. Gum Bleeds
2. Gum Boil or abscess
3. Toothache
4. Bad Breath
5. Loose tooth
6. Sensitivity to hot or cold
7. Food wedges between teeth
8. Inability to open mouth
9. Ulceration in the mouth
10. Facial Pain
11. Difficulty in swallowing
12. Ulcer that doesn’t heal for months

Anatomy of a Tooth

Each tooth has three parts, the crown, the neck and the root. The crown is the upper most part of a tooth and is above the gum and composed of hardest tissue in the body called enamel. This enamel is extremely resistant to crushing and wear and tear. Below the enamel is the dentin and can be repaired. Once the enamel is damaged it can not be repaired. Under the crown, that is below the gum line, is the root of the tooth; the neck line of the tooth. The root has a outer covering known as the cementum. It anchors the tooth with the supporting apparatus viz a membrane called periodontium and the socket of the bone called alveolar bone. In the centre of the tooth there is a very sensitive part known as pulp. It is the heart of the tooth and contains blood vessels and nerves.

(a) Masticatory apparatus

The teeth, supporting structures of teeth (root), the maxilla (upper jaw), the mandible (lower-jaw), the jaw joint, the muscles of mastication (chewing) and the soft tissue lining the oral cavity.

(b) Associated structures

The tongue, the lips, the cheek, the floor of the mouth, the salivary glands, the palate, the tonsil and the uvula.

The oral cavity and its supporting structures are unusually vulnerable to disease, for they are exposed to the external environments and are subjected to mechanical, chemical and bacterial infection. The oral tissues with endocrinal changes in pregnancy are most noticeable.

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