Teeth allow us to chew and bite food and speak clearly. They also give us our unique, beautiful smiles. Every person goes through two sets of teeth in their lifetime: their primary and secondary teeth. Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth appear around 6 months of age and begin to fall out one by one around age six. By age 13, all the baby teeth, except for the backmost molars (wisdom teeth), have fallen out. Each lost primary tooth is replaced with a secondary tooth that comes up from underneath the baby tooth.
Baby teeth fall out in the same order in which they first erupted, or grown in from the incisors to the canines to the bicuspids to the molars.
What Teeth Are Made Of
Many patients know that teeth are made of enamel, which is the hard, translucent part of the teeth that makes the teeth durable and stable. However, teeth are made up of more than that. Here is a brief breakdown of what teeth are made of:
Cementum. This hard part of the tooth is said to be as hard as bone and is hidden under the gumline. Cementum holds the tooth in place in the jawbone and protects the outside of the tooth root.
Enamel. This hard protective layer covers up the white/yellowish layer of tooth, called dentin. Enamel makes teeth strong enough to withstand great amounts of pressure and it protects the surface of the teeth from harmful bacteria.
Dentin. This white/yellowish part of the tooth is the most readily noticeable part of the teeth. It too is as hard as bone ad give teeth their toughness and structure.
Pulp. The tooth pulp is the innermost part of a tooth. Connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves converge here to anchor the tooth in place as well as give it essential nutrients. The pulp of each tooth has both a pulp chamber and a root canal. The nutrients, blood flow and nerve impulses and feelings travel from the pulp chamber to other parts of the tooth from the root canal.
When a patient has a toothache, it is likely an indication that there is something wrong with a part of the tooth. The nerve endings in the center, or pulp of the tooth has become irritated and exposed due to a weakening or compromising of one of the tooth's protective outer layer.
There are many causes to toothaches and tooth sensitivity should be examined by a dental professional as soon as possible as it could be the result of deep tooth decay that needs to be treated promptly to possibly save the tooth.
Sugar-filled foods and drinks as well as acidic ones may destroy and eat away at the enamel and dentin and possibly make it down into the root of the tooth. This is why it is important to floss and brush one's teeth daily and make regular check-up and cleaning appointments with your dentist.
Even if you don't have a toothache, regular, six month visits to your dentist's office is important in maintaining good health for your teeth and gums. Regardless of whether or not you're experiencing tooth pain, contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment, especially if it has been longer than six months since your last appointment.