Oral Anatomy 101

Welcome to your mouth! You might be surprised at how many different parts work together to make your mouth work for you. A healthy mouth is necessary for a healthy life. Read more below from Dr. Michael Colleran in San Luis Obispo to get an in-depth look at the human mouth and how it works.

Teeth
You’d be lost (and very hungry) without these shining beauties. Adults have 32 teeth and babies have 20. The four different kinds of teeth you have are:

  • Incisors in the front that bite and cut tough food like meat
  • Canines tear food, like a big piece of bread off the loaf
  • Premolars also tear, and crush food like salad greens
  • Molars grind everything down small enough for you to swallow and digest

The white, visible part of your tooth is called the crown[LINK] and the invisible part under your gums is called the root.

All of your teeth have three layers:

  • Enamel is the outer layer that is the chewing surface and protects the layers below .
  • Dentin is the next layer of hard tissue, fed by blood from the pulp.
  • Pulp is the core of the tooth made of soft nerve tissue and blood vessels.

Each layer of the tooth is very important. If tooth decay ever breaks down your enamel and reaches the dentin and pulp, your tooth could die.

We pay a lot of attention to the look and function of your teeth because they make your first impression and impact your daily life and confidence.

Gums

Also called gingivae, gums are the soft tissue that covers the roots of your teeth and jawbone. Healthy gums are pink and help keep your teeth in place. Unhealthy gums may tend to bleed, be discolored, and extremely sensitive. Healthy gums ensure healthy teeth and a healthy body overall.

Tongue

You rely on this muscle to help you enjoy your food! Mostly known for hosting all of your taste buds, the tongue takes up the most space in your mouth and is also important for healthy chewing, swallowing, speaking, and cleaning the mouth.

Uvula

We couldn’t forget this odd little guy. The uvula is that bell-shaped bit of tissue that hangs just above your throat – the “hangy ball” if you will. Scientists do not fully understand the uvula but it is thought to help food move down your throat and also produce saliva.

What about the rest?

Of course, the inside of your mouth is completely supported by the muscles and bones around it. Your jawbone, cheeks, and lips support your mouth to make chewing and speaking possible. Those bones and muscles are connected to the rest of your face, head, and neck in a complex system of tendons and nerves in your jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

Your mouth is truly a wonderful machine and it is worth the time and attention to keep all parts in working order.

To take care of your mouth and all its parts, make an appointment with Dr. Michael Colleran in San Luis Obispo at Michael Colleran, DDS today!

 

https://www.britannica.com/science/gum-anatomy

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tooth

Dr. Colleran is a nationally renowned dental author and lecturer and an expert on laser dentistry. He has spoken across the country on laser dentistry and had articles appear in several professional journals. He is also sought after by dental manufacturers as a consultant for product evaluation and research. Dr. Colleran is an instructor for the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry, which teaches LANAP and other laser dental procedures to dentists from across the globe.

Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care

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