Did you know that the tooth can be divided into three main parts? a crown coated by enamel, a root covered by cementum and the cervical margin or neck where these two regions meet.
The crown is the inferior portion of the tooth that is not typically covered by gingiva. It is coated in enamel, an extremely rigid and translucent material that is actually an epithelial cell secretion. The enamel is thickest over the cusps where it is approximately 2.5mm thick and it thins at the cervical margins.
Teeth fall into one of three categories, each with a different crown morphology: incisiform, caniniform and molariform. The crown of the incisors are blade shaped and thus they are cutting teeth. The canines have a single, cone shaped crown and function as piercing or tearing teeth. The molars and premolars have a number of cusps on a flat biting surface and function as grinding or crushing teeth. Premolars are usually bicuspid but may have more. Molars typically have four or five cusps.
The cervical line or neck of the tooth is a slim, irregular margin that constitutes the boundary between the enamel covering the crown and the cementum covering the root. At this line the cementum usually overlaps the enamel slightly, although they can meet end on occasionally. The neck of the tooth is visible to the naked eye because of the difference in color between the enamel and cementum.
The root is the superior portion of the tooth that is coated in cementum. It is a highly mineralised, bone-like tissue; however, unlikebone, cementum lacks vascularisation and nervous innervation. The roots of the tooth are lodged in the dental alveoli of the mandible and the maxilla and are covered in gingiva when seen in the mouth. The incisors and canines each have a single root, while the premolars have one or two roots and the molars can have two or three roots.
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