Know Your Teeth, Inside and Out!
Learn Your Tooth Anatomy, Shape, and Function
Teeth differ in shape depending on their function & position in the mouth. On the inside, however, they all share the same basic anatomy.
Parts of a Tooth
- Crown: the visible, chewing portion of the tooth.
- Root: the portion of the tooth hidden by the gums, it anchors the tooth into the jawbone. (The root makes up about two thirds of the total length of the tooth.)
- Enamel: the hard outer covering of the crown of the tooth, it’s the hardest tissue in the body.
- Dentin: most of the tooth structure is this bone-like tissue which lies underneath the enamel and supports it.
- Pulp: the soft inner tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and lymph vessels.
- Cementum: thin, bone-like tissue that covers the root of the tooth.
- Periodontal ligament: connective tissue that holds a tooth’s root into the jawbone.
Tooth Shape & Function
- Incisors: the eight front teeth, (top and bottom total) whose primary function is to cut into food when biting. They also help you pronounce words correctly when speaking.
- Cuspids: also called canines, these four pointed teeth are made for tearing. (Like a dog tears into a rawhide!)
- Premolars: also called bicuspid, these next teeth (8 in total) are wider, and have at least two pointed cusps used for crushing.
- Molars: approximately the same shape as premolars, but even bigger and stronger. They are typically the last teeth at the back of the jaw, and able to grind with astonishing strength.
- Wisdom Teeth: the very last molar on each side (upper and lower), these 4 teeth are often removed in adolescence or early adulthood when they threaten to disrupt surrounding teeth. Wisdom teeth also tend to be more prone to cavities and decay, since they are the hardest to reach when brushing and flossing.
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Dr. Angela Burns moved to Austin 10 years ago and instantly fell in love with our beautiful city. Dr. Burns is originally from the Texarkana area. She attended Texas A&M for her undergraduate degree and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center for her degree in dental surgery (DDS). Dr. Burns is committed to providing her patients with gentle, technologically advanced dental treatment. She attends an average of 60 hours of continuing education every year. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Texas Dental Association, and the Capital Area Dental Society. Dr. Burns and her husband, Gary, have an 11-year-old daughter, Sydney, who is a proud 6th grader at Hill Country Middle School. She is also very involved in the Eanes PTO, her church, and loves raising her family in the Westlake community. “Growing up, I was drawn to mediating and helping others feel more included and less anxious. I was a camp counselor, student government officer and being the oldest of five, I was the family mediator. I found that I had a calling to help alleviate stressful situations for others and realized that being a good listener was something that was key to this. These skills really helped guide me into becoming a dentist that has based my practice on relationships, empathy and a sense of comfort. I knew that I wanted to provide an atmosphere that felt like home when others walked in. Our practice is small, personal and state of the art and we hope you feel like you’re hanging out with friends when you are here!” When she is not practicing dentistry, Dr. Burns enjoys traveling, hiking the greenbelt, enjoying Austin’s music scene, and eating Amy’s Ice Cream.