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Teeth, continued
These terms describe the sides of the tooth :
 
Buccal/labial/facial – Side that faces outward, toward the cheeks or lips.
 
Lingual/palatal – Inside surface facing the tongue or the palate.
 
Mesial - Sides of the teeth that face the front of the mouth.
 
Distal - Surfaces of the teeth that face the back of the mouth.
 
Occlusal - Surface of the back teeth where biting and chewing takes place.
 
Incisal - Biting surface of the front teeth.

The tooth consists of a crown and a root. The crown is visible above the gums. The root is covered with cementum, which anchors it to the periodontal membrane.
Cementum: A specialized external bony layer covering the dentin of the part of a tooth normally within the gum.


The hard, outer surface of the crown is the enamel. The enamel is mostly composed of hydroxyapatite.
Enamel: Intensely hard calcareous substance that forms a thin layer partly covering the teeth; the hardest substance of the animal body; consists of minute prisms arranged at right angles to the surface and bound together by a cement substance.
Hydroxyapatite: A complex phosphate of calcium Ca5(PO4)3OH that occurs as a mineral and is the chief structural element of vertebrate bone.
Binding of fluoride to the hydroxyapatite leads to the formation of
Fluoroapatite: Hard crystalline substance with the formula Ca5(PO4)3F; structural element of tooth enamel.
fluoroapatite, which makes the enamel more resistant to decay.

The enamel protects the dentin, a hard, thick substance containing thousands of tubules that surround the nerve. These tubules contain tiny projections of the nerve and are, thus, sensitive to exposure to air, acid, and touch. The
Dentin: The hard, yellow bone-like substance that surrounds the nerve.
Pulp: The highly vascular sensitive tissue occupying the central cavity of a tooth.
pulp is the soft core of the tooth that contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and the nerve itself.

Refer to the Chapter 1 Photo Gallery for diagrams of the teeth.
 
 
A specific taxonomy is used to describe the sides of the tooth.
 
Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth, which protects the root.
 
Enamel is composed of hydroxyapatite, which binds fluoride to become more resistant to decay.
 
Occlusal refers to the surface of the tooth where biting and chewing take place.
 
The tooth basically consists of a crown and a root.
View the Chapter 1 Photo Gallery.