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Dental Anatomy: 101

Learn more about your teeth!

What Makes a Tooth?

Check out the definitions of the anatomical terms depicted in the diagram above.

Enamel - Dental enamel is the hard thin translucent layer that serves as protection for the dentin of a tooth. It is made up of calcium salts. It is the hardest substance in the body.

Dentin - Dentin is the hard, dense, calcareous (made up of calcium carbonate) material that makes up the majority of the tooth underneath the enamel. It is harder and denser than bone. It is one of four components that make up the tooth. It is the second layer of the tooth.

Anatomical Crown - The natural, top part of a tooth, which is covered in enamel and is the part that you can see extending above the gum line.

Pulp Chamber - The area within the natural crown of the tooth where the tooth pulp resides.

Gingiva - also known as gums ? the soft tissues that cover part of the tooth and bone. Gingiva helps protect the teeth from any infection or damage from food and everyday interactions with the outer world.

Neck - The area of the tooth where the crown joins the root.

Root Canal - Not to be confused with Root Canal Treatment, the root canal is a space inside your tooth root that is filled with nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue.

Jawbone (Alveolar Bone) - The part of the jaw that surrounds the roots of the teeth and which is connected to the tooth by the periodontal ligament.

Cementum - A thin layer of a bone like substance that covers the root, and sometimes other parts of a tooth. This substance is yellow and not as hard as enamel or dentin.

Periodontal Ligament - A system of collagenous connective tissue fibers that connect the root of a tooth to its bony socket.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

Your teeth are composed of hard (calcified) and soft (non-calcified) dental tissues. Enamel, dentin and cementum are hard tissues. Pulp, or the center of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue?is a soft tissue. Each part of the tooth plays a vital role, whether it is to chew or tear food, speak, or even protect the tooth itself from decay.

Tooth Charts

Our mouths contain teeth of various shapes, sizes, and locations in the jaw. Each type of tooth is designed to perform different functions, like biting, tearing, and chewing. How teeth are shaped and aligned affect your smile, speech, and facial shape. People are usually born with 20 baby (primary) teeth, which start to erupt around about 6 months of age and shed at different times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth (including wisdom teeth) have usually erupted.

Primary (Baby) Teeth

Primary (Baby) Teeth (Upper) chart
NumberEruptShedUpper Teeth
A,J25-33 mos10-12 yrsSecond Molar
B,I13-19 mos9-12 yrsFirst Molar
C,H16-22 mos10-12 yrsCanine (cuspid)
D,G9-13 mos7-8 yrsLateral Incisor
E,F8-12 mos6-7 yrsCentral Incisor
Primary (Baby) Teeth (lower) chart
NumberEruptShedLower Teeth
K,T23-31 mos10-12 yrsSecond Molar
L,S14-18 mos9-11 yrsFirst Molar
M,R17-23 mos9-12 yrsCanine (cuspid)
N,Q10-16 mos7-8 yrsLateral Incisor
O,P6-10 mos6-7 yrsCentral Incisor

Permanent (Adult) Teeth

Permanent (Adult) Teeth (Upper) chart
NumberEruptUpper Teeth
1,1617-21 yrsThird Molar (Wisdom Teeth)
2,1512-13 yrsSecond Molar (12 yr molar)
3,146-7 yrsFirst Molar (6 yr molar)
4,1310-12 yrsSecond Premolar
5,1210-11 yrsFirst Premolar
6,1111-12 yrsCanine (cuspid)
7,108-9 yrsLateral Incisor
8,97-8 yrsCentral Incisor
Permanent (Adult) Teeth (lower) chart
NumberEruptLower Teeth
17,3217-21 yrsThird Molar (Wisdom Teeth)
18,3112-13 yrsSecond Molar (12 yr molar)
19,306-7 yrsFirst Molar (6 yr molar)
20,2910-12 yrsSecond Premolar
21,2810-11 yrsFirst Premolar
22,2711-12 yrsCanine (cuspid)
23,268-9 yrsLateral Incisor
24,257-8 yrsCentral Incisor