Types of teeth

    Most people start off adulthood with 32 teeth, not including the wisdom teeth. There are four types of teeth, and each plays an important role in how you eat, drink, and speak.

    The different types include:

    • Incisors. These are the chisel-shaped teeth that help you cut up food.
    • Canines. These pointy teeth allow you to tear and grasp food.
    • Premolars. The two points on each premolar help you crush and tear food.
    • Molars. Multiple points on the top surface of these teeth help you chew and grind food.

    Read on to learn more about the anatomy and structure of your teeth and conditions that can affect your teeth. We’ll also provide some dental health tips.

    Structure and function


    The root is the part of the tooth that extends into the bone and holds the tooth in place. It makes up approximately two-thirds of the tooth.

    It’s made up of several parts:

    • Root canal. The root canal is a passageway that contains pulp.
    • Cementum. Also called cement, this bone-like material covers the tooth’s root. It’s connected to the periodontal ligament.
    • Periodontal ligament. The periodontal ligament is made of connective tissue and collagen fiber. It contains both nerves and blood vessels. Along with the cementum, the periodontal ligament connects the teeth to the tooth sockets.
    • Nerves and blood vessels. Blood vessels supply the periodontal ligament with nutrients, while nerves help control the amount of force used when you chew.
    • Jaw bone. The jaw bone, also called the alveolar bone, is the bone that contains the tooth sockets and surrounds the teeth’s roots; it holds the teeth in place.


    The neck, also called the dental cervix, sits between the crown and root. It forms the line where the cementum (that covers the root) meets the enamel.

    It has three main parts:

    • Gums. Gums, also called gingiva, are the fleshy, pink connective tissue that’s attached to the neck of the tooth and the cementum.
    • Pulp. Pulp is the innermost portion of the tooth. It’s made of tiny blood vessels and nerve tissue.
    • Pulp cavity. The pulp cavity, sometimes called the pulp chamber, is the space inside the crown that contains the pulp.


    The crown of a tooth is the portion of the tooth that’s visible.

    It contains three parts:

    • Anatomical crown. This is the top portion of a tooth. It’s usually the only part of a tooth that you can see.
    • Enamel. This is the outermost layer of a tooth. As the hardest tissue in your body, it helps to protect teeth from bacteria. It also provides strength so your teeth can withstand pressure from chewing.
    • Dentin. Dentin is a layer of mineralized tissue just below the enamel. It extends from the crown down through the neck and root. It protects teeth from heat and cold.

    Tooth diagram

    Explore the interactive 3-D diagram below to learn more about teeth.

    Common tooth conditions

    Your teeth perform many functions on a daily basis, which makes them susceptible to a variety of conditions.


    Tooth cavities are small holes caused by a buildup of bacteria and acid on the surface of a tooth. Left untreated, they can grow deeper into the tooth, eventually reaching the pulp. Cavities can cause pain, sensitivity to heat and cold, and may lead to infection or tooth loss.


    Pulpitis refers to inflammation of the pulp, often due to an untreated cavity. The main symptoms are extreme pain and sensitivity in the affected tooth. It can eventually lead to an infection, causing an abscess in the root of the tooth.

    Periodontal disease

    Periodontal disease is sometimes called gum disease. It’s an infection of the gums. Common symptoms include red, swollen, bleeding, or receding gums. It can also cause bad breath, pain, sensitivity, and loose teeth. Smoking, certain medications, and poor oral health increase your risk of gum disease.


    Malocclusion is the misalignment of teeth. This can cause crowding, underbites, or overbites. It’s often hereditary, but thumb-sucking, long-term use of a pacifier or bottles, impacted or missing teeth, and poorly fitting dental appliances can also cause it. Malocclusion can usually be corrected with braces.


    Bruxism refers to grinding or clenching your teeth. People with bruxism are often unaware that they have it, and many people only do it when sleeping. Over time, bruxism can wear down tooth enamel, leading to damage and even tooth loss. It can also cause tooth, jaw, and ear pain. Depending on the severity, it can also damage your jaw and prevent it from opening and closing properly.


    A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. It can cause tooth pain that radiates to your jaw, ear, or neck. Other symptoms of an abscess include tooth sensitivity, fever, swollen or tender lymph nodes, and swelling in your cheeks or face. See a dentist or doctor right away if you think you have a tooth abscess. Left untreated, the infection can spread to your sinuses or brain.

    Tooth erosion

    Tooth erosion is the breakdown and loss of enamel caused by acid or friction. Acidic foods and drinks, can cause it. Stomach acid from gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux, can also cause it. In addition, long-term dry mouth can also cause friction, leading to tooth erosion. Common signs of tooth erosion include pain, sensitivity, and discoloration.

    Tooth impaction

    Tooth impaction happens when there isn’t enough space for a new tooth to emerge, usually due to overcrowding. It’s common in wisdom teeth , but it can also occur when a baby tooth falls out before the permanent tooth is ready to come in.

    Symptoms of a tooth condition

    Tooth conditions can cause a variety of symptoms, and not all of them are obvious.

    Make an appointment with your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

    • tooth pain
    • jaw pain
    • ear pain
    • sensitivity to heat and cold
    • pain trigged by sweet foods and beverages
    • persistent bad breath
    • tender or swollen gums
    • red gums
    • bleeding gums
    • loose teeth
    • discolored teeth
    • fever

    Tips for healthy teeth

    You can avoid many tooth conditions by taking care of your teeth. Follow these tips to keep your teeth strong and healthy:

    • brush twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste
    • floss between your teeth once a day
    • replace your toothbrush every three months
    • go in for professional dental cleanings every six months
    • limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks
    • if you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit
    What holds your teeth in their socket?
    There is a socket for each tooth in the alveolar bone of the jaw, where each root is firmly attached within the socket by the periodontal ligament which surrounds it. This ligament is made up of connective tissue, which attaches both to the cementum covering the root and to the alveolar bone. more
    What holds teeth in socket?
    There is a socket for each tooth in the alveolar bone of the jaw, where each root is firmly attached within the socket by the periodontal ligament which surrounds it. This ligament is made up of connective tissue, which attaches both to the cementum covering the root and to the alveolar bone. more
    How many teeth can an implant hold?
    An implant is rarely used to replace multiple teeth on its own, but it can be combined with another to replace up to six teeth. That means an implant on its own can support a max of three artificial teeth. more
    How many teeth can one implant hold?
    Depending upon the condition of the person's gums and jawbone, a single implant can sometimes be placed to support two adjacent teeth. More commonly, multiple implants are used to anchor fixed bridges or removable partials. more
    Do gums hold teeth in place?
    Root fibers connect the root and bone, holding the tooth in place. The gums do not hold the teeth, but healthy gums will keep harmful germs from getting to the bone and root fibers. When the gums are not healthy, they form deep 'pockets' which collect germs. more
    What holds teeth in socket?
    There is a socket for each tooth in the alveolar bone of the jaw, where each root is firmly attached within the socket by the periodontal ligament which surrounds it. This ligament is made up of connective tissue, which attaches both to the cementum covering the root and to the alveolar bone. more
    Can brushing teeth cause dry socket?
    Brushing and flossing, or even using mouthwash, can run the risk of dislodging the blood clot that should be forming in the socket. This can result in a dry socket, which is a common complication following wisdom teeth removal. more
    Does dry socket make other teeth hurt?
    In a dry socket, the blood clot will partially or fully detach from the wound, which can worsen the pain. Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is a common complication of tooth extraction.Comparison to a normal socket. Dry socket Normal socket Bad taste in the mouth No change in taste more
    Is dry socket common in upper teeth?
    Dry socket is uncommon after a routine extraction, occurring only about 2% of the time, and it rarely happens in upper teeth. In fact, almost all dry sockets develop after lower molars are removed. more
    Do teeth hold memories?
    When a person chews, the movement of teeth stimulates the brain's hippocampus region, which is involved in memory. Tooth loss means that fewer of these signals are sent. Scientists found that elderly individuals who had more of their own teeth had 4 percent better memory compared to those with greater tooth loss. more
    Can one implant hold 3 teeth?
    If you are missing three or more teeth in a row, you may need as few as two dental implants to replace all of them. Your dentist can place one implant at each end of the gap. The implants will support crowns, and the crowns will support 1 – 3 pontics between them. more

    Source: www.healthline.com

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