Parts of a tooth


This is the very hard outer layer of a tooth, and is what you see covering teeth when you look in your mouth. It is smooth, and shiny and is the hardest substance in the body so is good for chewing food. It gives teeth their whitish colour, and is 1-2 mm thick.


This is a hard, thick layer, just underneath the enamel, which forms the bulk of the tooth. It has lots of tiny tubes in it which contain nerves, which means teeth can feel the difference between hot and cold food or drinks.


This is the middle part of the tooth, and is also the living part. It is a space inside the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are found (which feel the difference between hot and cold). Blood pumps through tiny blood vessels inside the pulp, which help to keep the tooth healthy.

Root Tip

This is the very end of the root, and is where the blood vessels and nerves come into the pulp from the surrounding bone. This is the last part of a growing tooth to form. It is also where infection can build up when a tooth is very damaged, and this is called an abscess.


Fissures are v-shaped grooves in patterns on the biting surface of back teeth which help us to chew our food. Have a look in your mouth and count how many of your bottom teeth have fissures.


The roots of teeth lie in the jawbone and are attached to the bone by fibres in the periodontal ligament.

Periodontal Ligament

This holds the tooth firm in the jaw bone, and is made of lots of tiny threads (fibres). These fibres attach the root of the tooth to the bone around it (socket). This is the part of the tooth that gets damaged in gum disease.


The gums are the soft tissues covering the bone around teeth. Healthy gums are firm and pink, but unhealthy gums can look red, and puffy, and can bleed when you brush your teeth.