Des Moines Dentist Presents—The Human Tooth: Crown and Root

close look at a toothEducation is a vital part of your good dental health. For instance, understanding the dangers of dental plaque can motivate you to maintain a strict dental hygiene routine, improving your chances of preventing dental diseases. Also, knowing the components of your oral health and how they interact can help you better understand the diseases that afflict them and your options for treating them. In the first of a two-part series, your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds, begins an anatomical tour of your dental health by explaining the parts of healthy human tooth—the upper crown and lower root.

The Face of Your Smile

The top, visible part of your tooth is known as the crown and is protected by the strongest and most mineralized substance that your body produces, called enamel. Underneath the enamel lies your tooth’s main structure, dentin, which contains small tubules that lead to the nerves and blood vessels (pulp) housed in the center chamber of your tooth. Bacterial acid and poor oral hygiene can severely weaken your enamel, exposing the dentin to bacterial infection and decay. If left untreated, the decay will spread to the pulp, and in severe cases, extracting the tooth may be necessary to stop the infection from spreading. When your crown is severely weakened, a fabricated and aptly-named dental crown, often called a cap, can be placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage and restore its full function. If a tooth is lost or extracted, an implant-supported dental crown can restore the top part of your tooth as well as its root.

The Base of Your Smile

While your crown rests above the gum line, your tooth extends below your gums where its roots are embedded in your jawbone. Though tooth roots are not covered by enamel like their more elevated counterparts, your gums act as a seal that surround and protect them. Excessive plaque formation along your gums can cause them to separate from your teeth, exposing your tooth roots to food debris, plaque, and bacterial infection. If infection reaches your roots, the tooth may have to be extracted if the infection is too severe for a root canal procedure.

Dental Crowns and More with Your Des Moines Dentist

Next week, we describe the components that make your teeth useful by moving your jaw, and a common condition that can affect these joints and muscles, inhibiting your mouth’s proper function. To learn more about treating or restoring your oral health, such as with a dental crown or root canal procedure, schedule a consultation with your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.