The anatomic crown of a tooth is the area covered in enamel above the cementoenamel junction (CEJ) or "neck" of the tooth. Most of the crown is composed of dentin ("dentine" in British English) with the pulp chamber inside. The crown is within bone before eruption. After eruption, it is almost always visible. The anatomic root is found below the CEJ and is covered with cementum. As with the crown, dentin composes most of the root, which normally has pulp canals. Canines and most premolars, except for maxillary first premolars, usually have one root. Maxillary first premolars and mandibular molars usually have two roots. Maxillary molars usually have three roots. Additional roots are referred to as supernumerary roots.
Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body. It has its origin from oral ectoderm. It is one of the four major tissues which make up the tooth, along with dentin, cementum, and dental pulp. It is normally visible and must be supported by underlying dentin. 96% of enamel consists of mineral, with water and organic material comprising the rest. The normal color of enamel varies from light yellow to grayish white. At the edges of teeth where there is no dentin underlying the enamel, the color sometimes has a slightly blue tone. Since enamel is semitranslucent, the color of dentin and any restorative dental material underneath the enamel strongly affects the appearance of a tooth. Enamel varies in thickness over the surface of the tooth and is often thickest at the cusp, up to 2.5mm.
Dentin is the substance between enamel or cementum and the pulp chamber. It is secreted by the odontoblasts of the dental pulp. The formation of dentin is known as dentinogenesis. The porous, yellow-hued material is made up of 70% inorganic materials, 20% organic materials, and 10% water by weight. Because it is softer than enamel, it decays more rapidly and is subject to severe cavities if not properly treated, but dentin still acts as a protective layer and supports the crown of the tooth. Dentin is a mineralized connective tissue with an organic matrix of collagenous proteins. Dentin has microscopic channels, called dentinal tubules, which radiate outward through the dentin from the pulp cavity to the exterior cementum or enamel border. The diameter of these tubules range from 2.5 ?m near the pulp, to 1.2 ?m in the midportion, and 900 nm near the dentino-enamel junction. Although they may have tiny side-branches, the tubules do not intersect with each other. Their length is dictated by the radius of the tooth. The three dimensional configuration of the dentinal tubules is genetically determined.
Cementum is a specialized bone like substance covering the root of a tooth. It is approximately 45% inorganic material (mainly hydroxyapatite), 33% organic material (mainly collagen) and 22% water. Cementum is excreted by cementoblasts within the root of the tooth and is thickest at the root apex. Its coloration is yellowish and it is softer than dentin and enamel. The principal role of cementum is to serve as a medium by which the periodontal ligaments can attach to the tooth for stability. At the cement to enamel junction, the cementum is acellular due to its lack of cellular components, and this acellular type covers at least ? of the root. The more permeable form of cementum, cellular cementum, covers about ? of the root apex.
The dental pulp is the central part of the tooth filled with soft connective tissue. This tissue contains blood vessels and nerves that enter the tooth from a hole at the apex of the root. Along the border between the dentin and the pulp are odontoblasts, which initiate the formation of dentin. Other cells in the pulp include fibroblasts, preodontoblasts, macrophages and T lymphocytes. The pulp is commonly called "the nerve" of the tooth.