Teeth supporting structures

The visible portion of a tooth is not your entire tooth; it is called the dental crown. At the same time, the tooth's root is embedded within the jawbone. Several supporting structures like Enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp tissue make up a tooth.



The dental pulp, also known as the nerve, passes through the dental pulp cavity at the tooth’s core. Furthermore, the cementum and the alveolar bone are joined by a fibrous tissue known as the periodontal ligament. This helps to receive an impact on the tooth, absorb and reduce strain on the jaw. The alveolar bone, gums, and periodontal ligament support the tooth.

What supports your teeth?

To understand the anatomy of a tooth, you must learn about its different supporting structures, which are as follows.

  • Gum –The gingiva is a soft tissue that covers the jawbone and provides a seal around the teeth. When healthy, gingival tissue is firmly attached to the underlying bone, forming an efficient barrier against periodontal damage to deeper tissues. The natural color of healthy gingiva is coral pink; however, it may include melanin pigmentation.
  • Cementum — Cementum is a specific calcified material coating for the root of a tooth. A portion of the periodontium binds the teeth to the alveolar bone by anchoring the periodontal ligament. This structure is formed throughout our lifetime as a new cementum layer gets deposited to ensure the attachment is intact.
  • Alveolar bone –The Alveolar bone binds the tooth sockets (also known as dental alveoli or alveolar process) on teeth-bearing bones. This bone entails an area of compact bone (known as the lamina dura) connected to the roots’ cementum via periodontal ligaments. Like any other bone in the human body, the Alveolar bone undergoes lifelong changes. Therefore, under the influence of numerous external circumstances, it may experience the process of bone resorption or formation processes.
  • Periodontal ligament — The periodontal ligament is a connective tissue that links the cementum of the tooth and the alveolar bone. It is a fiber network that consists of elastic fibers and is responsible for supporting the teeth inside the socket of the alveolar bone. Its function is to attach the teeth to the bone and give support to the teeth. The periodontal ligament helps secure the tooth to the bone, provides tooth support, production and resorption of bone during tooth movement, and much more.
    When a tooth is subjected to force, such as chewing or biting, it shifts slightly in its socket and stretches the periodontal ligaments. This is known as physiologic tooth movement. The periodontium exists to support teeth throughout their function; there is always a condition of equilibrium between the periodontal tissues and external stresses.
  • Enamel — Enamel is the most robust tissue that covers the dental crown’s surface. The topmost part of the teeth has different shapes. It produces an insulating barrier that shields the tooth from physical, thermal, and chemical pressures that might otherwise harm the dental pulp.
    The formation of the Enamel occurs by the cells that are called ameloblasts. They cause the enamel matrix formation in the secretory stage, and during the maturation phase, it is wholly mineralized and hardened.

Composition and structure of Enamel

The Enamel comprises more than 95 % of inorganic compounds, the primary component being calcium phosphate. However, its shape varies from person to person and even in the same person. Different teeth have different functions, and the Enamel has the form and structure that best visits and serves the part of that specific tooth.

What is the Dentin-pulp complex, and why is it so important?

Dentin pulp is the tooth part that supports the Enamel for dissipating masticatory forces. The tissue plays an essential role in maintaining the pulp and, thus, the tooth and vitality.

It is composed of dentin phosphoprotein/phosphophoryn (DPP), dentin sialoprotein (DSP), dentin glycoprotein (DGP), dentin matrix protein-1 (DMP1), osteonectin or secreted protein acidic. The Dentin-pulp complex is rich in cysteine, osteocalcin, bone sialoprotein (BSP), osteopontin, matrix extracellular phosphoglycoprotein, and many more components.

Final words

Teeth are one of the most critical parts of our body, so you must have a clear idea of all the tooth-supporting structures. So now that you have a clear idea about your teeth, it’s time to be careful about your oral health and strive to maintain optimal hygiene.

Dr. Michael

Dr. Michael

MSc Implantology, Bonn University, Germany