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Anatomy of Teeth

First and foremost, let’s discuss the structure and basic functioning of a tooth. This basic idea will help you understand the further information in a much easier way. You will be surprised to know that this small structure in our mouth in covered by a layer which is the hardest structure of human body. This layer which covers teeth is known as enamel.

Structure of Tooth

A tooth consists of three hard tissues, the enamel, dentine and cementum surrounding a soft tissue—the pulp. The pulp is surrounded by dentine on all sides except at the apical foramen, where it is continuous with the periodontal soft tissue. The dentine forms the bulk of the tooth, but it is not exposed outside. A part of the tooth is covered by enamel and the rest is covered by cementum. The part covered by enamel is known as the crown and the part covered by cementum is known as the root. The line of the junction of the crown and the root is known as the cemento-enamel junction or the cervical line. The part of the root area immediately adjacent to the crown is called the neck of the tooth. The crown is exposed to the oral cavity and the root lies in a socket in the bone and is held there by means of a set of fibrous ligament, the periodontal ligament.


The pulp cavity in the crown area is called the pulp chamber and in the root portion it is known as the pulp canal or the root canal. The roots may be single as it is in the incisors and the canines or they maybe multiple as it is in the molars. The portion of the jaw bone that anchors and supports the teeth is called the alveolar bone and the hole in which the root lies is called the socket. The crowns of different teeth vary in shape and size. On the basis of form and function, the human teeth may be divided into three classes in case of the primary dentition (incisor, canine and molar) and four classes in case of the permanent dentition (incisor, canine, premolar and molar)

The main function of all the teeth is to chew the food and help in development of speech and looks. As mentioned above we get four different types of teeth. The incisors, canines, premolars and finally molars.

1. Incisors have a peculiar shape as that of chisel and are sharp too. This shape helps a person to bite or break food or cut the food into pieces. A normal person would have 8 incisors—4 in the upper jaw and 4 in the lower jaw.


2. Canines have a cone like shape and are also called as corner stones of our mouth. They have the longest root and their crown has a pointed cup which helps in tearing of food. A normal person would have 4 canines in total—2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw.

3. Premolars help in crushing the food and have 2 cusps. They are present just behind the canines. They are in total 8 in number and are distributed as 2 on each side of the jaw; the upper and lower.

4. Molars are the broad shaped back teeth which help in chewing and properly grinding of food. They are 12 in all, 3 present on each side of the jaw.

1. Dr. Sachin Arora, Defeat Dental Problems, 2010, 132p

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