Healthy teeth are a miracle and invaluable – a dentist explains why and the way best to guard them

One of John Lennon's teeth was sold at an auction in England in 2011 just over $31,000.

How much are your teeth value?

Teeth are amazing little miracles. She brighten our smilesWe Use them to talk and we Chew with it greater than 600 times at every meal.

But in a society during which one in five Americans is 75 years old or older live without their teethMany people may not realize that teeth are supposed to stick with us throughout our lives.

I'm a dentist and… Assistant Professor from clinical dentistry to craniofacial regeneration Research. Researchers like me are still deepening our understanding of tooth development, with the final word goal of helping patients Regrown ones on request.

In doing so, I developed an awe for natural teeth and for the complex great thing about these biological and mechanical masterpieces.

Designed for lifelong function

The secret to the longevity of teeth lies of their durability and their anchoring within the jaw – imagine a hammer and its handle. For each tooth, durability and anchorage are functions of the complex interface between six different tissues; each is a biological miracle.

This is used for anchoring cement, tape And Bone Grasp the tooth by its root area, which is buried beneath the gums. The ligament, a soft tissue about 0.2 millimeters wide (in regards to the diameter of 4 hairs), connects the foundation cementum at one end to the jawbone at the opposite end. It serves to anchor the tooth and cushion its movement when chewing.

However, the key to durability lies within the enamel, dentin and pulp – our focus on this discussion.

An illustration of dental anatomy
Dentin and pulp are the body and heart of the tooth.
Anna Koroleva/iStock via Getty Images

Enamel – the shield

Tooth enamel is the protective covering that covers the visible a part of the tooth above the gums. Thanks to its high mineral content, tooth enamel is the toughest tissue within the body. This must be the case since it serves as a protective shield against the constant stress of chewing.

Tooth enamel comprises no cells, blood vessels or nerves and is due to this fact non-living and insensitive. Tooth enamel can be non-regenerative. Once destroyed by decay or broken by abuse B. when chewing ice, biting nails or opening a bottle – or by touching it with a dental drill – this a part of our invaluable tooth enamel is lost endlessly.

As tooth enamel comes into contact with a germ-laden world, decay also begins. When acid-producing bacteria construct up on unbrushed or poorly brushed teeth, they easily dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel.

How bacteria invade teeth and cause tooth decay.

The non-innervated tooth enamel, like hair or fingernails, is insensitive. Caries progresses painlessly through the two.5 millimeter thick layer of tooth enamel. At this stage, if the dentist detects the tooth decay during a dental check-up, he or she will treat it with a comparatively conservative filling that has little impact on the structural integrity of the tooth.

Because of its high mineral content, tooth enamel is stiff. Its lifelong support comes from the more resilient infrastructure – the dentin.

Dentin and pulp – body and heart

Dentin is the elastic body of the tooth and comprises fewer minerals than tooth enamel. It is a living tissue composed of parallel tiny tubes Case fluid And Cellular extensions. Both come from the pulp.

The pulp is the soft tissue core of the tooth. Extremely wealthy in cells, blood vessels and nerves, it’s the tooth's life source – its heart – and the important thing to its longevity.

Like smoke detectors communicating with a distant fire station, the cell processes in dentin sense decay because it penetrates through the insensitive enamel layer into the dentin. As soon because the extensions transmit the danger signal to the pulp, our tooth sensitivity alarm goes off: the tooth's heart is on fire.

The inflamed pulp initiates two protective measures. The first is to secrete one additional dentin layer to delay the approaching attack. The second is a toothache, a call to the dentist.

The earlier the visit, the less drilling and the less smaller the filling. If the tooth is detected early, many of the tooth's natural tissues can be preserved and the pulp will likely recuperate. If caught too late, the pulp is slowly dying out.

Without its heart, a dead tooth has no protection against further tooth decay invasion. Without a source of fluids, a dried out dentin will eventually break under the force of constant chewing. In addition, a tooth that has already lost a big a part of its natural structure because of tooth decay can Cavity preparation or root canal instrumentation becomes weak, with limited longevity.

In other words, the tooth isn’t the identical without its heart. Without pulp, the tooth loses its womb-to-grave durability and Mother Nature's lifetime guarantee.

The tooth comes together

More complex – and more invaluable – than a Pearl in an oysterWhen a tooth is formed in our jawbone, layers of minerals are deposited. As Tooth development progresses In a means of ultimate cellular engineering, the cells of the six tissues mentioned above – enamel, dentin, pulp, cementum, ligaments and bone – proliferate, specialize and mineralize in synchrony with each other to form uniquely interlocking interfaces: Enamel to dentin, dentin to pulp, Cement to dentin And Cement to ligaments to bone.

Tooth development – ​​the final word means of cellular engineering.

In one Progress much like 3D printing, the tooth crown grows vertically until it’s fully formed. At the identical time, the foundation continues to expand to eventually separate from the crown of the tooth, through the bone, through the gums, and appear within the mouth – a process called teething. At about this point, around age 12, our adult set of teeth is complete. These beads will last a lifetime and are undoubtedly value preserving.

Take care of your teeth and go to the dentist

Caries, probably the most common disease in humansis each predictable and avoidable. The earlier it’s detected, the higher tooth integrity may be maintained. Since the method begins painlessly, regular visits to the dentist are essential to maintain the insidious germs at bay.

During your check-up visit, the dentist will clean your teeth and examine them for early tooth decay. If you might be conscientious along with your day by day preventive measuresthe excellent news to you won't be news – enough to make anyone smile.

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