Every so often a patient comes into my office and asks a question so fundamental that the rest of us haven’t even given it any thought in quite some time. The question? They want to know, in roundabout terms, what teeth are made of. Are they bone? Are they something else? It’s a perfectly natural thing to wonder about, after all, they don’t behave like many other tissues in our systems.
Teeth are pretty amazing, but they’re definitely not bone. I found a good article to share with you today. I’m sure if you give it much thought you’ll have a few interesting questions of your own that we generally don’t ask because we assume it’s too bare bones to admit we missed that day at school.
So, you want to know more about what your teeth are made of, do you? It’s funny, because when I go on and on about how interesting teeth are in mixed company, most people either run away or politely stand around looking bored. It’s nice that you want to know more about the inner mysteries of dentistry.
First of all, teeth are not bones. Not even close. Although the enamel on the outside of your teeth is made of many of the same minerals, including calcium and phosphate, it takes a lot more than that to make a bone. Your teeth are actually harder than bone, but just on the outside.
Inside, your tooth contains a lot of living soft tissue, as opposed to the hard, unliving tissue that is your enamel. These tissues are arranged in layers, with dentin on the outside and the aptly named “pulp chamber” on the inside. That’s where the blood supply comes into each individual tooth. There’s a lot more to know about teeth, but I think that this articlefrom Colgate’s website does a nice job of fleshing the whole story out.