Think Teeth Are Bones? Think Again!

January 29th, 2015

Are Teeth Bones?Many people mistakenly think that their teeth are made up of the same materials as their bones. Well, think again! Teeth are actually very different than bones, made up of several layers of tissue and minerals that help protect the teeth and keep them lasting a long time without the worry of serious wear. So while your teeth may look like funny-shaped bones, they are quite different.

While maybe similar to a bone in the way they look and feel, teeth differ in many ways. First and foremost, the anatomy of the bone compared to teeth is very different. The tooth consists of a center, or the pulp, which includes connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. This is the area that will cause a toothache if exposed or if a cavity reaches down to it. Bones, on the other hand, have a center filled with marrow that produces white blood cells, cells that your teeth do not do produce. The blood flowing through bones is made possible by arteries that pass through the bone and to the marrow.
The next layer of the tooth is known as dentin. This is the substance that makes up the majority of the tooth, and protects your teeth from the wear and tear of daily use, including eating, drinking, and harsh temperature changes. Dentin is calcified tissue, and is what helps make your teeth the hardest part of the human body. The only thing harder than dentin is the outer layer of your tooth, which protects the dentin. It’s the shiny white enamel that makes your teeth look so clean and bright. Enamel coats the tooth above the gum, while below your gums, cementum coats the roots and keeps your teeth in place.
Your bones’ outer layers are made of periosteum, which is a dense membrane that coats the outer surface of most bones. Periosteum also contains osteoblasts, which are cells that manufacture new bone growth and repair broken bones. This is something your teeth cannot do, and is a big reason why it’s important to take such good care of your teeth.
Another major difference between bone and teeth is the bone’s flexibility. Most of the bone’s makeup is of the protein collagen. This is a living, growing tissue that allows a bone to withstand pressure, while the calcium that makes up the rest of the bone allows the body to withstand its own weight. Teeth don’t have this kind of flexibility.
While teeth and bones are very different, they do have one obvious similarity: only you are responsible for their well-being. Taking care of both means eating right and taking preventive measures to make sure your body is out of harm. For teeth, this includes brushing and flossing everyday along with regular visits to the dentist for cleanings.
If you have any more questions on the makeup of your teeth or are interested in seeing one of Chicago’s top rated dentists, do not hesitate to call Water Tower Dental at (312) 787-2131.