A Tooth by Any Other Name…

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Teeth. We use them every day and work hard to keep them strong and healthy. Since we value each tooth so much, we thought a little refresher on dental terminology would be fun to remind us all of the different types of teeth, their role in how we eat, speak, and smile, and the other parts of the mouth that support our teeth.

The sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower) used for cutting food.

Sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points (cusps) and are used for tearing and grasping food.

These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes referred to as bicuspids. The premolars are for crushing and tearing food.

Used for grinding and chewing food, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface to help in this process.

This is the top part of the tooth, and the only part you can normally see. The shape of the crown determines the tooth’s function. For example, front teeth are sharp and chisel-shaped for cutting, while molars have flat surfaces for grinding and chewing.

Gum line
It is the location where the tooth and the gums meet. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up at the gum line, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.

It is two-thirds of the tooth that is embedded in bone and serves as an anchor to hold the tooth in place.

Enamel is the outer and hardest part of the tooth that has the most mineralized tissue in the body. It can be damaged by decay if teeth are not cared for properly.

The layer of the tooth under the enamel. If decay makes it through the enamel, it next attacks the dentin — where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to the dental pulp.

The soft tissue found in the center of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are located. If tooth decay reaches the pulp, you usually feel pain and may require a root canal procedure to be done.

Was that a good refresher? Don’t worry, though, there won’t be a quiz later! Just a reminder of how important our teeth are to encourage all of us to take good care of them.

About Gregory Mansour
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