The visible portion of the tooth is the crown. The outer surface of the crown is made of enamel. Just beneath the enamel is dentin, a substance harder than bone. The gum surrounds the base of the tooth.
The root of the tooth extends down into the jaw bone and provides circulation and sensation to the tooth. The root contains blood vessels and nerves, which supply circulation and sensation to the entire tooth. The area is known as the "pulp" of the tooth.
The jaw bone contains all the teeth and provides stability and mobility for the mouth and teeth for chewing. The lower jaw bone is called the mandible and the upper jaw bone is called the maxilla.
Review Date: 08/08/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.