• Are My Teeth Alive?

    Are teeth alive?

    Yes, teeth are alive! It may seem hard to believe but it is true.

    When you were born, you had no teeth. That’s because they hadn’t been formed yet. Your teeth needed time to be born and grow within your jaw bone.

    First you had baby teeth. These came out and were replaced with your adult teeth, which grew to be much bigger and stronger.

    Often people think that teeth are not alive, because of the hard outside enamel of the tooth. However inside that enamel outer shell is a complex structure that is very much alive.

    What are my teeth made of?

    There are a number of layers/structures that make up a tooth.

    • Tooth Enamel: This is a protective outer coating on the visible white part of a tooth you see sticking out of the gums. The enamel is actually a translucent protective layer consisting of calcium phosphate and can be treated with fluoride. The enamel protects the living layers within.
    • Dentin: Just under the enamel layer of your tooth is dentin. This is a hard living tissue and makes up the majority of a tooth’s structure. Dentin looks a lot like bone and contains thousands of microscopic tubules. Dentin is alive.
    • Cementum: Like the enamel which protects the dentin of a tooth. Cementum a softer substance than enamel surrounds the roots of teeth to protect them from harm. Cementum provides stability and the attaching fibres needed to anchor teeth into the jawbone.
    • Roots: This is the two-thirds of your tooth, hidden under your gums. All teeth have roots to anchor your teeth into your jawbone so they remain stably positioned. The roots of your teeth are covered with a thin layer of bone, and are inserted into sockets in the bone of the jaw. Roots are structured to withstand the force and pressure of biting and chewing food.
    • Pulp: Different types of teeth have different root structures. Some teeth have one root others have three or four. The inside of each root of your teeth has a hollow chamber called a pulp canal. The pulp canal is very sensitive and provides each tooth with blood flow and nutrients that are important for keeping the tooth alive.

    If you need proof that your teeth are alive, remember back to the last time you had a toothache. That sensation of pain is only possible because of the living tissue and nerves that exist in your teeth.

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