Meyer Orthdontics in Brookings Blog

Teeth Versus Bones – What’s the Difference?

Dog with a sideways grin, his bite problem is cute. on a human, we'd want to fix that.When we’re asked, “Why don’t teeth heal like other bones?,” our first answer is, “Teeth aren’t bones at all!”

So what are teeth? We’re glad you asked!

What are Bones?

Teeth and bones are both hard, both more or less white and both high in calcium, but they’re not actually the same thing. Before we tell you what teeth are, we’ll tell you what they aren’t (and what bones are).

Bones contain calcium and other minerals, but they are mostly made of collagen. Collagen is a protein. It is a living, growing tissue. This gives bones a flexible framework allowing them to withstand pressure, but with enough calcium to support the body’s weight.

Because bones are mostly living tissue, they can also heal and repair themselves after being damaged or broken. But bones are not as hard as teeth. If our teeth were bones, they wouldn’t be able to endure a lifetime of biting and chewing.

If Teeth aren’t Bones, What are they?!

The jaw bone is connected to teeth. There is no such thing as a teeth bone. You'll never hear that rhyme the same way again, will you?

The jaw bone is connected to teeth. There is no such thing as a tooth bone. You’ll never hear that rhyme the same way again, will you?

At the core of your tooth is dental pulp. This is the soft, living part of the tooth containing nerves, arteries and veins and runs deep into the jaw.

The dental pulp is protected by dentine. Dentine is a calcified tissue that accounts for most of your tooth. Finally, the dentine is covered in a hard, shiny later of enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and unlike your bones it’s fully exposed.

What do I need to know about enamel?

Enamel is basically armor for your teeth. The primary purpose of enamel is to protect your teeth from damage. When a dentist expresses concern about tooth decay, they’re usually talking about damage to the enamel.

Even though enamel is the hardest part of the human body, it’s not indestructible. It can be cracked or chipped fairly easily. It’s also constantly exposed to acid and bacteria build up. This is why it’s so important to perform regular daily dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and rinsing.

Your teeth also have to stand up to a lot of biting and chewing. It’s important to be careful what you subject them to. Teeth aren’t meant to separate Lego bricks, open bottles, or tear open packaging! Certain bite problems can also lead to additional, unnecessary wear on your enamel.

Take good care of your teeth. You only get one set!

If you have questions or concerns about your own teeth, come see us in Brookings or Madison for a free consultation.

Sources: [ScienceNordic] [LiveScience] [Humana] [Wikipedia]