DO YOU KNOW what the parts of the human tooth are? We’d like to give you a quick tooth anatomy lesson because the more patients know about their teeth, the better they will understand the importance of good dental health habits like brushing, flossing, and avoiding sugary treats. Your South San Francisco dentists and specialists can repair every part of your teeth. This guide will also help you understand why they prescribe certain treatments to restore your smile. We’ll start in the crown and work our way down to the roots.
The Three Layers of the Dental Crown
Everything visible of a tooth above the gums is the crown, and it consists of three layers. Let’s take a closer look at each one and what services we have to repair
The outermost layer of the tooth is the enamel layer. Tooth enamel is mostly composed of inorganic hydroxyapatite crystals, which make it the hardest substance in the entire body. We need it to be that way so that we can chew a lifetime’s worth of food!
However, because it’s inorganic, enamel can’t repair or replace itself if it is eroded or damaged too much. It’s also extremely vulnerable to acid. That’s why brushing, flossing, cutting back on acidic and sugary foods and drinks, and regular professional cleanings are so important!
Treatment: If you've lost significant enamel to decay or if it's damaged, or if you're just unhappy with the way they look, we can restore your enamel with natural-looking fillings, crowns and veneers. Made with super strong materials, they can look and feel just like your natural enamel. If you have severe dental fear or anxiety, we also have sedation options to make you feel more comfortable.
The next layer of the crown is the dentin, which is very similar to bone. It’s more yellowish than enamel and there’s more of it in adult teeth than baby teeth (if you’ve noticed that brand new adult teeth seem more yellow than baby teeth, that’s why). Microscopic tubules run through the dentin so that the nerves in the center of the tooth can detect temperature changes. When the enamel erodes, these become exposed and cause tooth sensitivity.
Treatment: To treat tooth sensitivity, we can prescribe a special toothpaste for tooth sensitivity or apply fluoride gel.Your dentist may also suggest a crown, inlay or bonding to restore your dentin and prevent further tooth sensitivity.
The Pulp Chamber
The core of the tooth is the pulp chamber, where the blood vessels and nerves are. The pulp is what makes a tooth alive and how we feel the temperature of our food. It’s also how we feel pain when something’s wrong with the tooth. Don’t ignore tooth pain; it’s the body’s natural warning sign that it’s time to see the dentist!
Treatment: When the pulp chamber becomes infected or damaged, your dentist may refer you to our in-house endodontist for root canal treatment to save your tooth and relieve pain. During root canal treatment the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed. Don't worry, these steps may sound intense, but with modern anesthestia that numb your mouth, you do not experience more discomfort than you would during a regular filling or wisdom tooth removal. We also offer sedation options to help you be more comfortable during your root canal treatment. Your general dentist will then create a crown to further protect your newly treated pulp chamber.