Table of Contents
What is a tooth ?
A tooth is a calcified, hard structure present within the oral cavity. It lies embedded within the bone in the oral cavity. Its main functions include mastication (chewing), speech, and help in making up a pleasant smile.
Difference between Tooth & teeth
The tooth is a white mineralized structure found in the mouth used for mastication (chewing). Teeth are the plural form of a single tooth. The word ‘tooth’ is used by the dentist when he is inquiring about one particular tooth in the oral cavity of a patient. The term ‘teeth’ is used when all the tooth structures in the mouth are being addressed. ‘Teeth’ is an irregular plural of the word ‘tooth’.
What is the shape of a tooth/teeth ?
The oral cavity is mainly divided into four quadrants, each quadrant consisting of 8 teeth. So there are a total of 32 teeth in the oral cavity. There are four types of teeth namely incisors, canine, premolars/bicuspids and molars. Each type has its unique shape and size.
What is a bone ?
Bone is a mineralized structure made up of calcium and phosphorus. It also has a high collagen content. Bones in the human body serve various functions like making up the framework of the body and enabling mobility. The bone marrow within the bone also serves an environment for the formation of blood cells.
The bone is dynamic; that is, it undergoes remodeling. Remodeling means the breakdown of the bony tissue followed by the replacement with newly formed bone. Remodeling is a continuous process, thus enabling the bone to heal by itself.
Are teeth bones ?
Teeth are not considered bones. Teeth are altogether different structures having a different composition. The main difference being the ability and inability to heal. When the bone gets injured or breaks, the healing process starts immediately with the formation of cartilage, which later undergoes mineralization to form a new bone in that area.
However in case of teeth, there is noway that the teeth will heal by itself. So in case of cavities happening, these need to be removed and restored with dental cement. There is no chance that the tooth will remineralize again in that area. So a dentist needs to be consulted in case of a cavity.
What is a tooth made of ?
The tooth is mainly made up of three layers, the pulp, dentin and enamel. The pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. The dentin is a mineralized tissue (less mineralized than the dentin) containing few nerve endings too. The enamel is a fully mineralized tissue, making it the hardest tissue (even harder than the bone). The tooth is surrounded by the periodontium (gingiva, alveolar bone, cementum), thereby providing support to the tooth. Tooth decay invading the enamel layer will slowly enter the dentin, pulp and periodontium. Such teeth can be treated and saved by root canal treatment.