Your teeth are composed of four dental tissues. Three of them—enamel, dentin and cementum—are hard tissues. The fourth tissue—pulp, or the center of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue—is a soft, or non-calcified, tissue.
The Anatomy of a Tooth
- Enamel. Hard calcified tissue covering the dentin in the crown of tooth. Because it contains no living cells, tooth enamel cannot repair damage from decay or from wear. Only a dentist can correct these conditions.
- Anatomical Crown. The visible part of your tooth. It is normally covered by enamel.
- Gums (also called gingiva.) Soft tissues that cover and protect the roots of your teeth and cover teeth that have not yet erupted.
- Pulp Chamber. The space occupied by the pulp—the soft tissue at the center of your teeth containing nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
- Neck. The area where the crown joins the root.
- Dentin. That part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum. It contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering (enamel), the tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth, causing sensitivity.
- Jawbone (Alveolar Bone.) The part of the jaw that surrounds the roots of the teeth.
- Root Canal. The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth; the chamber within the root of the tooth that contains the pulp.
- Cementum. Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root, giving attachment to the periodontal ligament.
- Periodontal Ligament. A system of collagenous connective tissue fibers that connect the root of a tooth to its socket.