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Your Teeth and You

How much do you really know about your teeth? You know what they do, right? They chew your food. They make up a beautiful smile. But they also help you to speak clearly and affect the shape of your face. Everyone knows that teeth are important, but you may not realize just how important they are.

At Clearwater Dental Associates, here in Clearwater, FL, we know that the only way to ensure you have all the information you need to take proper care of your teeth is to make it available to you in an easy and convenient format, like the blog you are reading now. This is just one of the ways we reach out to the people of Clearwater and offer our knowledge and expertise as a guide to your own oral health care.

Sometimes it’s the simplest information that goes unnoticed, so it is often a good idea to spend some time reviewing the foundations of oral health and dentistry. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four types of teeth and their basic functions.

The Four Types of Teeth

Incisors (8 total) – Your incisors are front and center for a beautiful smile. They are use to bite and cut your food, and are also essential for speech.

Cuspids (4 total) – These teeth look similar to animal fangs, so they are also known as canines. They hold and tear your food as you chew. Your cuspids do not affect your speech all that much, but they are visible when you smile and talk, so missing one of these would definitely affect your appearance.

Bicuspids (8 total) – Named for their two points, or cusps, your bicuspids are also called premolars. They grind and crush your food, making it ready for the trip to your stomach. Even though they are situated towards the back of your mouth, bicuspids can be visible when you smile and talk, but missing one of these is not nearly as noticeable as missing a front tooth.

Molars (8 total) – These are your back teeth, also used for grinding food. Since they are all the way in the back of your mouth, you would have to have a very wide smile for these teeth to be visible. However, they still affect your appearance. Your molars help to fill out your cheeks, so if they were missing, you may look older than you actually are.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

A tooth is basically made up of two separate parts, the crown and the root. The crown is the part of tooth everyone sees, and as a result, it is most vulnerable to tooth decay and injury. The root is embedded in your jaw, anchoring your tooth in place.

However, a tooth also has a few layers:

Enamel – The outer layer of your tooth is the strongest substance in the human body. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it is impervious to decay and injury. Enamel can be weakened by acid, which makes it more vulnerable to decay, fracture, and staining.

Dentin – The second layer of your tooth is very hard, as well, but it is also very porous. This means if your enamel suffers a fracture, air and liquid can slip through your dentin, causing sensitivity, discomfort, and even pain.

Pulp – Past the dentin resides the pulp, which is the soft, fleshy center of your tooth. It is filled with nerves and blood vessels. If tooth decay makes it past the first two layers of your tooth to your pulp, you have a serious problem. When the bacteria that cause tooth decay get all the way to your pulp it can cause an infection that can cost you your tooth and spread throughout your mouth and body.

Cementum – This part of the tooth covers the root. It is usually completely protected from tooth decay because it is surrounded by your gums. But if gum disease causes your gums to recede, your cementum has very little protection against tooth decay. The results could be disasterous.

We Can Help You Protect Your Teeth

To keep your teeth clean and free from decay, be sure to keep regular appointments with Clearwater Dental Associates. We will can help you practice effective preventive care to keep your smile healthy and bright.

Contact us today to make an appointment.