03 Jan Getting to the Bone About Teeth
In the past, many people believed that teeth were the only bones of the body that are external, designed to function in an exposed state, while other bone stays fully in the body. But is that true? Are teeth and bone the same thing? Well, there are some similarities, but first let’s go over the differences between bones and teeth.
Unique Qualities of Bone
Bones are made up of collagen and calcium phosphate, providing them with strength to support the rest of the body as an internal framework. In their center is marrow, which is responsible for producing red and white blood cells. Like skin and muscle, bones are living tissue. The human body continues to replenish bones, replacing older material with a fresh supply. A healthy diet with calcium-rich foods brings in the building blocks needed for this process. Also, like muscle, bones grow stronger from a good exercise routine.
The internal skeletal structure also offers a little flexibility, but at a certain point, bones break. Since bone is a living tissue maintained by the body, a broken bone heals on its own over time. The body forms a callus around the fracture, and new “threads” of bone cells start to grow on either side. The threads latch together and continue growing as the callus is absorbed. The result is a repaired bone, ready to continue life. With a little medical guidance, a bone can be repaired to a point where only an x-ray shows that it was broken.
To the Tooth
Teeth, however, are not completely living tissues like bone. Their outer structure, the enamel, is the hardest structure in the human body. Like bone, it is made mostly of calcium phosphate, but enamel is more like a tough shell with two jobs: protect the rest of the tooth and chew your food. But much of our diet consists of acids and other components that wear away tooth enamel, and unlike bone, there’s no way to replace it once it’s gone. Thankfully, your dentist at the Yuba City Dentistry Group has options available to repair this tooth decay.
Beneath the enamel, teeth consist of dentin — not as hard as enamel, but still tough. Dentin surrounds the pulp, where all the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue reside. When cavities expose the pulp to things like acids or hot and cold liquids, sharp pain results. And again, since teeth are not living tissue like bone, the body does not replenish lost enamel and dentin.
Cracked, chipped or broken teeth will not heal on their own. If you put the pieces next to each other, they won’t thread back together, like bone. They need help from the Yuba City Dentistry Group. With the latest methods and materials, we can restore a broken tooth, and even put it back if it gets dislodged.
Where Teeth and Bone Meet
Although they are not the same, teeth and bone might be considered cousins. Both are integral to your health and daily life, so proper diet and exercise are necessary for keeping them strong. Exercise your teeth by chewing and chomping on healthy foods. Keep sugary or acidic foods and drinks to a minimum, preserving your tooth enamel.
If you experience tooth pain, call the Yuba City Dentistry Group or schedule an appointment online. If you experience a damaged or avulsed (knocked-out) tooth, contact us as soon as possible (preferably within 12 hours) and visit our dental trauma page on our website for further instructions. We want to make sure your smile stays intact and that all your teeth stay in your bones.