Dentin: What Is It And Why Should You Care?

The word dental is derived from dentin, which is part of everyone's teeth. To learn more, read on.

Where is the Dentin Located?

The shiny, white surface of your teeth is only the outer layer. Your tooth enamel is one of the strongest and hardest parts of your body. Teeth must be strong, or you would not be able to obtain the nourishment you need to live a healthy life. Underneath that enamel lies the heart of the tooth, the dentin. This substance is not meant to be exposed and when it is, you probably have a dental problem that needs addressing. Dentin is also a very strong substance, but it contains nerves, and that can cause some dental patients a few problems.

Tooth Sensitivity

When you have sensitive teeth, it's very uncomfortable to eat and drink some things. The reason for this sensitivity, in many cases, can be that the dentin in teeth has been exposed. That can occur when the enamel has worn away. Enamel can become eroded by acids in the mouth caused by sugary food and drinks. Even people that brush after each time they eat can suffer from enamel erosion if they have certain medical conditions or take certain medications, however. Without the protective enamel, eating and drinking foods at extreme temperatures can feel extremely uncomfortable to some because the nerves in the dentin are irritated by cold and hot items.

Root Problems

You may also suffer from gum problems when your dentin is exposed. The roots of your teeth are protected by dentin and when they are exposed, it's not just painful but it's also likely to cause a gum infection. Some sufferers may be advised by their dentist to have a root canal procedure, which removes the roots of the teeth that are causing pain. This procedure also usually calls for a crown to help protect the tooth against further damage.

Tooth Appearance

In some people, the enamel is worn away so much that the dentin is visible. Since dentin is not white in color (it's usually yellow), discoloration can occur to teeth with thin enamel. Unfortunately, whitening procedures can do nothing to change the color of the dentin. Only your enamel is affected by that. However, you can ask your dentist about bonding for your teeth. That procedure whitens your teeth, and it also helps strengthen weak and thin enamel.

To learn more about any of the above, speak to a dentist.