Knowing Your Teeth

Looking at the main components of a healthy tooth.

On the surface of it, our teeth appear to be a solid block of hard material which is consistent throughout.

This is not the case though, and a tooth consists of three essential parts which our Bromley dentist takes a closer look at in this, our latest blog post.

The enamel

The enamel is the external part of the tooth and is very hard and predominantly non porous. This helps to protect the more vulnerable inner part of the tooth. It is, however, also in the front line of our daily eating habits and is therefore the first part to become damaged or worn. Taking care to keep our teeth clean and free of acids and bacteria will help to keep the enamel in good condition for many years. It may though, become discoloured and less attractive over time, although this can be rectified with cosmetic dentistry such as a teeth whitening procedure.

Any breakage, or wearing of the enamel, will expose the structure under it, known as the dentine.


The dentine is made of a softer material and is more yellow in colour. In fact, discolouration from ageing, excluding staining problems, is caused largely by this part of the tooth darkening, giving a yellowing appearance to the teeth. When the enamel of the tooth is damaged, this exposes the dentine to bacteria which, in turn, leads to tooth decay, and quite likely toothache. For this reason, even small breakages or cracks of the teeth should be treated, even if causing no discomfort, in order to protect the dentine.


The pulp of the tooth is where the tiny blood vessels and nerves of the tooth are stored. As you can imagine, this is where toothache arises and once this part of the tooth becomes infected, there are usually only two options available. Our Smile Dental Practice dentist will examine and x-ray the tooth, and where practical, will attempt to save it using root canal treatment. Should this not succeed, or where there is too much damage, extraction, and a replacement such as a dental implant, may be used to fill the gap in the teeth.


Although not technically a part of the tooth, a healthy jawbone is essential for good oral health. The bone is especially vulnerable to later stage gum disease, or periodontitis, which can degrade the bone to the point where it is no longer capable of holding a tooth in place, thereby causing the loss of the tooth.

As a part of keeping the whole of your teeth healthy and in good condition, regular professional dental checks are strongly advised. If you live in Bromley, Kent, and have not seen a dentist for more than six months, why not arrange an appointment at the Smile Dental Practice by calling us on 020 8462 2473.