Posted on: 20 April 2015
You might already know that each of your teeth is anchored into your jaw by a bony root, but what else do you know about your tooth roots? Since you cannot see them, many people don't think about their tooth roots often. However, learning a little about them can help ensure your dental care routine is supporting the health of your tooth roots. Here are three important things every patient should know about the roots of his or her teeth.
Your tooth roots contain living tissue.
It's common to think of the teeth as dead projections of the body, but in fact, they are living structures, and the living tissues they contain are largely found in the root portion of the tooth. Beneath the hard enamel covering of each tooth lies a system of blood vessels and nerves. It's these nerves that are responsible for the pain you feel when you bite down too hard on something, drink something too hot, or have a deep, untreated cavity.
The fact that your tooth roots contain living issues is one reason why it's so important to care for your teeth. An infection that starts in your tooth can easily spread through your body by way of the blood vessels in your tooth roots.
Different teeth have different numbers of root canals.
Think of tooth roots as shaped somewhat like the tines of a fork. Some teeth have one tine, while others have several. These tine-like projections that anchor the tooth into the jaw are known as root canals. Your incisors, which are the teeth at the front of your mouth, have one root canal each. Your canine or eye teeth also have one canal each. Molars, however, generally have three or four canals.
Each root canal contains blood vessels and nerves. When you have a root canal procedure, a dentist removes the living tissues (mostly blood vessels and nerves) from the root canals and fills them with synthetic materials. Generally, this is done when the tissues in the root canal become infected. Though there is a common misconception that root canals are painful, having one done can actually relieve the pain of a toothache, since it removes the infected tissue that is irritating your nerves.
Your tooth roots are anchored to your jaw by a ligament.
Have you ever wondered why gum disease can cause the teeth to become loose and fall out? It's because when gum disease becomes severe, it can eat away at the ligament that anchors your tooth roots into the jaw. The roots become less attached and start wiggling around. Thus, by taking care of your gums with regular flossing, you're also taking care of your tooth roots and the ligament that anchors them to your jaw.
Even though they're hiding beneath your gums, your tooth roots are a vital part of your dental anatomy. Without them, your teeth would have no blood or nerve supply, and they'd fall right out of your mouth. For more information, speak with experts like David Semrau, DDS.Share