Express Dentist logo

24h emergency

Monday - Sunday


Across the United States

What Are Teeth Made Of?

Get an emergency dentist anytime (including nights, weekends and out-of-hours) by calling our toll-free hotline

Table of Contents

what are teeth made of

Most of the time, we take our teeth for granted. We use them to masticate (cut, mix, and grind) food into a bolus (round mass) that can be swallowed easily. Teeth also help us speak by controlling the flow of air in the mouth and helping us form words when the tongue hits against them. But have you ever wondered what are teeth made of? Today, we are going to take a deep dive inside a human tooth and see what parts and substances it is made up of.

What are the parts of the human tooth?

Human teeth are made of three parts – the crown, neck, and root. Nearly two-thirds of each tooth consists of the crown, which is the visible part of the tooth that sits above the gums. The neck of the tooth is a narrow portion that connects the crown and the root. The root, which constitutes approximately one-third of a tooth, is situated deep inside the jaw bone. The root anchors the tooth in place. It is invisible because it sits below the gumline.

Are teeth made of bone or cartilage?

Teeth are not made of bone or cartilage. Teeth and bones have some things in common. For example, they are two of the hardest substances in the human body. Both bones and teeth contain minerals like calcium and phosphorus. But teeth are not actually bone or cartilage.

So then, what are teeth made of?

Teeth are made of four main parts called the pulp, dentin, cementum, and enamel.

Pulp: This is the innermost part of a tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. There are two parts of the pulp. The pulp chamber is inside the crown while the root canal is in the root of the tooth.

Dentin: This is the substance that surrounds and protects the pulp. It is as hard as bone and gives teeth their yellowish tinge.

Cementum: This is a layer of tissue that covers the root of the tooth under the gumline. It holds the tooth in place in the jawbone. It is also as hard as bone.

Enamel: This is the hardest substance in the human body. It covers the dentin and forms the white part of the crown that you see. The enamel of our teeth is strong enough to withstand the forces of chewing as well as the acids in food and bacteria. It also protects the nerves inside the tooth from temperature changes caused by hot and cold foods. It’s worth remembering that enamel once destroyed cannot re-form, so that’s why it’s very important to take good care of your teeth.

Which teeth are the hardest?

All teeth are hard, but the molars (the flat teeth in the back of the mouth) are larger and broader in size and have a thicker coating of enamel. They are used for crushing and grinding food and are the strongest teeth. Molars can withstand up to 200-300 pounds of pressure per square inch. Keep in mind, however, that although teeth are very strong, they can get fractured and cracked.

Are teeth tougher than bone?

Yes, you can say teeth are tougher than bone. Teeth are made of enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body. Unlike bones, which have a soft, living tissues inside them, teeth are 96% solid minerals, which makes them harder and stronger than bone.

Are teeth stronger than steel?

Teeth are as strong as steel. Both steel and tooth enamel are rated 5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness. For comparison, diamonds, which are the hardest substances known to man, are rated 10 on this scale. And a fingernail? It is rated 2.5 on the Moh’s scale.

Why are teeth white?

Enamel, which is the part of the tooth that is visible outside the gums, is almost completely composed of calcium phosphate, which is a naturally white mineral. So, it is the calcium phosphate in enamel which gives our teeth their white color. (If you want whiter teeth, read about the pros and cons of charcoal toothpaste for teeth whitening).

Now you know the answer to the question: What are teeth made of? Hopefully, understanding the various parts of a tooth will encourage you to take better care of your teeth.

If you have fallen behind on regular dental check-ups, Express Dentist can connect you to a dental professional in your area. And if you have niggling symptoms, don’t put off getting them checked out. Even seemingly minor dental issues can become big and expensive problems if neglected.

About the author

Dr Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo

Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.

As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.

Similar posts

Table of Contents

Need a dentist?

Call across the United States

Trending pages