Parts of a tooth | Oral anatomy

Parts of a tooth

Most people, when they think about the mouth, can identify some of its parts: lips, tongue, palate, teeth. However, it is not so usual that we know in depth the parts of a tooth or oral anatomy, naming each of its parts. We are going to focus on the teeth, which have an essential role in our diet, and each one of them has the main function.

And not only that, but they also have a specific structure that it is necessary to know to learn how to take care of them correctly.

But before explaining the parts of the tooth, let’s clarify what exactly they are and what are their main characteristics.

We know we have teeth, but what are they?

Teeth are structures that are attached to the maxilla through the periodontium and erupt through the gum. Therefore, a tooth is made up of a visible and hidden structure.

Human beings not only use teeth to cut and grind food, like animals but also to pronounce correctly when we speak.

What is each tooth called and what are its characteristics?

We almost always refer to these pieces by the generic name of “teeth”, but the truth is that each one has a name and a specific function. Precisely because each parts of a tooth has a mission within our oral cavity, its shape and size vary.

parts of a tooth

The denture is grouped into:


They are the four front, most visible teeth, since they are located in the central part of the mouth, both in the upper and lower arches.

The upper two are commonly known as palettes, while the adjacent ones would be lateral incisors.


They are also called fangs because of their sharp shape.

Due to their shape, they play an important role in grinding food.


Generally, this category of teeth is called “molars”, but they are called premolars because they are located between the canines and the molars. They are flatter and larger teeth than the previous ones since their essential function is to help digestion and food intake through chewing.


They also have a flat shape and are the ones that have a more active role in the chewing process.

As a person grows, he has more and more teeth. During childhood, baby teeth erupt, which will later fall out to make way for permanent teething.

Until then, we are talking about primary teeth, where only 20 teeth are present.

An adult person with complete teeth, that is, including the four wisdom teeth that may never erupt, has 32 teeth.

What are the parts of a tooth?

Now that we know what types of teeth there are, how they are classified according to their name, and their main characteristics, we will explain dental anatomy. The structure of a tooth, as we have discussed previously, is made up of two parts: one visible and one invisible.

In the first place, the part that is hidden inside the periodontium is formed by the neck and the root, while the visible part is the crown.

The dental crown

It allows to carry out the functions of chewing food. They make up the person’s teeth and the shape determines the function of each tooth.

In turn, we distinguish two parts within the crown: the cusp -the highest area- and the sulcus -the middle area-.

The neck or cervical area

It joins the crown with the root and is located on the edge of the gum. It is a part that requires special routine hygiene since it tends to accumulate bacteria that can cause cavities or infections.

The root

It supports the tooth and is located inside the maxilla. Depending on the tooth, there is one (incisors and canines) or several (premolars and molars).

As we have indicated, the root is attached to the crown through the neck and also through the periodontal ligament. It is surrounded by cement.

But in addition to these elements, the tooth is made up of the following parts:


Tooth enamel is the hardest and most resistant tissue in the entire human body and is responsible for protecting the crown.

By surrounding the outer part of the tooth, it protects it from pathogens and bacteria, although the enamel can suffer wear over time.


Dentin is the layer below the enamel.

It is also made of a very resistant material and provides the color of the crown.

Thanks to its elastic properties, dentin protects the tooth from external blows or trauma.


It is part of the structures that support the tooth. This periodontal tissue is a buccal mucosa that surrounds the dental neck and covers the bone.

It is necessary to take care of the gums since any accumulation of bacteria can generate periodontal diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis).

Also, it can also be affected by an incorrect brushing technique.


Although it is commonly known as a nerve. The truth is that the pulp is a tissue that integrates the blood vessels of the tooth.

Among its functions, the pulp is responsible for sending a sensory signal if the tooth has suffered any damage. But it is also responsible for forming the dentin and nourishing the tooth.

It is a very sensitive part of the tooth structure that is damaged, the pulp can also be affected. The most common condition is pulpitis, which can be reversible or irreversible if it has not been treated in time.

In the most severe cases, trauma or acute inflammation can lead to pulp necrosis, which stops the blood supply to the tooth and will give the tooth a dark color. If necrosis is very advanced, the tooth may even be lost.

Thus, hygienists will be able to perform dental prophylaxis. So, dentists will check the state of your mouth to detect any possible pathology as soon as possible.


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