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The Anatomy of Your Teeth

You’re not a medical student, then why should you study the anatomy of the teeth? It’s not like knowing the tooth structure will prevent any dental cavities in the future.

True, but the thing is, good awareness about the structure of teeth and how they are positioned in the mouth may aid you in maintaining good oral health. That is, you will be able to recognise when things are going wrong and understand when it is time to consult an expert. It may help you catch any dental issue in their early stage, thereby making treatments more accessible and less painful. Also, you will have a better sense of what type of food or drinks to avoid for better oral health.

Great looking teeth add radiance to your face when you smile. They can have a direct impact on your confidence and self-worth. So, let’s jump in and try to understand what exactly makes a healthy set of teeth and a gorgeous looking smile.

Different parts of your teeth

The following are the different parts that make up the structure of a single tooth.


The crown is essentially the visible part of your teeth. It is the part that is visible above or outside the gum. The crown can be split into three components as below.

  • Anatomical crown – Realistically, the only part of the teeth we actually see is the anatomical crown. It is the topmost part of a tooth.
  • Enamel – Enamel is what covers the anatomical crown. In that sense, it is the outermost part of the tooth and is even considered a part of the anatomical crown. It is the hardest tissue in our body. It serves two purposes. One, to fight off bacteria that tend to attack the teeth. Two, to give strength to the teeth while carrying out strenuous activities like biting and chewing.
  • Dentin – Dentin is the layer found below the enamel. It is a layer of mineralised tissue that travels from the crown, down the neck and into the root. Its main job is to protect the teeth from severe hot and cold conditions.


The neck is the intermediary part between the crown and the root. Also called the dental cervix, it becomes the line where enamel and root meet.

The neck is divided into three components as below.

  • Gums – Gums are the fleshy, pink soft tissue surrounding the teeth. Also called gingiva, it is an integral part of the neck of a tooth.
  • Pulp – Pulp is the innermost part of the teeth. It is, in that sense, the centre of your teeth. This soft tissue contains within it the nerves and the blood vessels.
  • Pulp cavity – The pulp cavity is that space that holds the pulp. It is also called a pulp chamber.


The root is the base of the tooth. It gives stability to the teeth by connecting them to the bones and keeping them secured in the teeth socket. Almost two-thirds of the teeth are made up of the root. The root consists of five parts as given below.

  • Root canal – A root canal is a connection wherein the pulp cavity extends into the root. Hence, as the name suggests, it is a canal or a passage of sorts that contains the pulp.
  • Cementum – As decipherable from the name, cementum is sort of like cement. It is a hard tissue that covers and protects the root. It is connected to the periodontal ligament
  • Periodontal ligament – Periodontal ligament connects the tooth to its tooth socket. It is made up of connective tissue and collagen fibre. It contains within it the nerves and the blood vessels.
  • Nerves and blood vessels – Nerves, like in any other part of the body, pass on messages. The nerves help regulate the amount of force required to chew food in the tooth. On the other hand, blood vessels carry and distribute nutrients to the teeth.
  • Jaw bone – Jaw bone is what holds the teeth in place. It contains a tooth socket. It is also referred to as the alveolar bone.

Types of teeth

Moving on from parts of a tooth to types of teeth, we can see that there are four types you need to be aware of.

Humans have a total of 32 teeth in their mouths. These 32 are made up of

  • eight incisors
  • four canines
  • eight premolars
  • twelve molars

This count includes your wisdom teeth as well because wisdom teeth are essentially molars that take a longer time to arrive.


Incisors are your front teeth. These are the ones that end up being visible when you eat or smile. We have a total of eight incisors, four at the top and four at the bottom. They serve the purpose of helping take bites of food.


Canines can be found next to the incisors, at the corner of your lips. They are the sharp, pointy teeth that help tear and hold food. They are a total of four in number, two on either side of the top jaw and two on the bottom.


Premolars are a set of transitional teeth found between the canines and the molars. They serve the purpose of both. That is, premolars help in both tearing and grinding food. The two bumps on the premolars help in the process of tearing and grinding. We have a total of eight premolars, four in each jaw.


Molars are the flat and round teeth found at the back of your mouth. They have many bumps that help grind the food and make it easier for digestion. They comprise not just the largest in number but the biggest in size among the other sets of teeth. We have a total of twelve molars – six each at the top and bottom. Wisdom tooth is essentially a molar.

This is all you need to do regarding the basic anatomy of teeth.

The primary thing for us to understand is that a healthy set of teeth is not just for eating. Teeth help in speech, chewing, and biting. It also plays a huge role in breaking down food for digestion.

Hopefully, when you understand the tooth anatomy better, you will also be able to better take care of it.

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