Description and Function 

The teeth are calcified structures contained within the mouth that are rooted into the upper and lower jaw. There are thirty-two human teeth with several functions such as breaking down food for digestion, speech, breathing, and providing structure to our face.

 

Structure of Teeth

The tooth can be divided into the crown  and the root. The crown of the tooth is the area which is visible and the root is any part of the tooth embedded within the jaw.

The crown  is covered by a strong substance called enamel  which protects the inside of the tooth. Underneath the enamel lies the dentin,  whichhas a critical role in protecting the inner pulp cavity,  this part of the toothis very sensitive as it contains vessels and nerves.

The root of the tooth is the part that sits within the jawbones. Part of the pulp cavity continues into the root. Cementum  is a substance which covers the surface of the root and helps to attach teeth to the bone through the periodontal ligament.

Types of Teeth 

In humans there are two types of teeth,  primary teeth (milk teeth) and permanent teeth (adult teeth). Primary teeth are made up of eight incisors, four canines and eight molars. Permanent teeth consist of eight incisors,  four canines, eight premolars and twelve molars.

The incisors  help with biting pieces of food. The canines  are used for tearing pieces of food. The premolars  and molars  crush and grind food into smaller pieces for the first stage of digestion.

 

Blood Supply to Teeth 

Blood supply to the teeth is important and prevents structures in the mouth from decaying. The maxillary artery is the main supply to the mandible and the upper teeth. This artery gives rise to the inferior alveolar artery which supplies the mandible (lower jaw).

 

Nerve Supply to Teeth

Nerves of the teeth are located within the pulp and provide sensory information such as temperature. The maxillary  branch of the trigeminal  nerve provides sensory innervation to the teeth in the upper mouth. The mandibular  branch of the trigeminal nerve provides sensory innervation to teeth in the lower mouth.

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