Understanding the Components of a Tooth

Understanding the Components of a Tooth

In adulthood, you typically have 32 teeth – 12 molars, 8 premolars, 4 canines, and 8 incisors. However, the number of teeth you have depends on several factors including your dental hygiene, your genetics, and the size of your jaw.

As a skilled endodontist, Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, offers high-quality dental services to properly care for your teeth and gums in Statesville and Hickory, North Carolina. To make it easier to understand the type of care your teeth need, you should know more about the components that make up your teeth.

Your teeth’s four dental tissues 

Your teeth are made up of four dental tissues that give you the ability to bite and chew your food. These tissues include:


Pulp is the soft tissue in the center of your tooth. That tissue contains your blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves.


Enamel is a hard tissue that covers the dentin on the crown of your teeth. This tissue contains no living cells, so it can’t repair itself if damaged by a traumatic dental injury or decay.


Cementum is a hard, connective tissue that covers the root of your tooth and attaches to the periodontal ligament — the connective tissue fibers that connect the tooth root to the socket.


Dentin is the part of your tooth beneath the enamel and cementum. The tissue has microscopic, hollow tubes. 

The loss of enamel can allow cold, heat, acidic, or sugary foods into the tubes, which stimulates the nerves and triggers increased tooth sensitivity and tooth pain.

Taking care of your teeth

Practicing optimal oral health is the only way to protect all components of your teeth and reduce your risk for decay and damage that causes pain and other complications.

Dr. Nance and our dental team offer helpful tips to protect the components of your teeth, including:

Brush before bed

Throughout the day, bacteria and germs build up on your teeth and gums.

To prevent damage to your enamel and other parts of your teeth while you sleep, be sure to brush well every night before you go to bed. Brush again first thing in the morning to further protect your teeth and freshen your breath.

Be sure to floss

Brushing doesn’t always get rid of the debris that builds up in between your teeth. For this reason, you need to floss daily as well.

Each time you floss, you eliminate plaque and stimulate your gums to reduce your risk for inflammation.

Drink water often

Water is essential for good overall health, but you also need to drink water often to protect your oral health.

Drinking water helps reduce the effects of acidic or sugary foods on your teeth between brushing.

Make changes to your diet

There are many benefits to incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Raw produce is especially essential for building strong jaw muscles. The vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables are also essential for healthy teeth and bones.

You should also limit sweets and acidic foods that can increase your risk for cavities, infections, and painful abscesses.

To schedule a consultation for tooth pain or other dental issues, call the office of Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, nearest to you today, or book an appointment online.

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