What is a tooth?
Of course everyone knows what the teeth are and what they are used for. Do we really know all their features?
The role of the teeth:
- Grabbing, biting and ripping out smaller and bigger pieces of food
- Chewing, grinding food and preparing it for digestion
- Forming speech sounds (try to say ‘s’ without teeth)
- They also have an esthetic role
What lies under the surface?
By looking at our teeth we could think that these are little, solid, more or less spherical body parts. We have already seen photos of them at the primary school that proves that this is so not the case as our teeth have a root part lying in the gum that is the foundation for stabilizing the teeth. This part is not visible if the teeth are healthy.
Let’s take a look at the most important layers!
The most outer protective part of the teeth, the enamel of the tooth is the one of the toughest part of the organism. Only a few may know that the enamel of the tooth does not have a prevailing colour, it is rather transparent so it does not determine the colour of our teeth as mostly the dentin determines it. The thickness is varying depending on whether we check it from the chewing surface or from the side of the teeth. The thickest part is usually around 2 mm. Though it is hard it is also fragile – if it is not supported by the dentin it can be damaged easily.
The acidic by product during the demolition of the food makes the enamel of the tooth thinner by taking out the inorganic materials. This state is turned back by the spittle by neutralizing the pH scale.
The next important layer is the dentin. The highest percentage of overall weight of the tooth is this layer. It contains 70% minerals and 20% organic materials and 10 % water. We can now releate to it as living tissue just like the bones. As opposed to the enamel, the dentin is able to protect itself from tooth decay: when the decay reaches the dentin, it starts to subsidence so it somehow strengthens itself and tries to stop the decay. Unfortunately, it cannot entirely avoid it.
We are now right in the middle of the tooth: the pulp. The nerves and veins are here and these are protected by a loose connective tissue. The root of the tooth is thinner as we go more to the inside of the gum and in the end it opens through an opening. Through this opened area the veins and nerves connect with the teeth.
Where does the pain come from?
Although the nerves are responsible for the pain, it already developes in the dentin. A liquid stream flows in the channels of the dentin that mechanically irritates the nerves of the pulp. The tooth decay does not even need to get to the nerves to cause pain.