Are your teeth bones, or not?

The teeth and bones have some important functional differences.

Although your teeth look a lot like your bones — they are both white in colour and very strong — there are, in fact, some key differences between the two. Bones and teeth are made from different materials and function quite differently to each other. Read on to learn about what the teeth and bones are made of, and what sets them apart…

What are bones made of?

The bones in your body are largely made up of a type of protein known as collagen, as well as a mineral called calcium phosphate. While the calcium phosphate gives the bones their strength and hardness, the collagen gives them their soft framework. Interestingly, bones are made up of various living tissues which allows then to continuously change and renew over time. Throughout the course of your life, old bone tissue breaks down and is removed from the body; and new bone tissue is produced in its place. Thanks to this constant cycle, your bones are able to maintain their strength.

What are teeth made from?

Your teeth consist of a number of layers. Some of these layers, such as the enamel, dentin and cementum, are hard, while some are made from soft tissue, such as the pulp. The hardest layer of the teeth is the enamel, which is made of minerals like calcium phosphate. In fact, the enamel of the teeth is the hardest substance in the body and is even harder than your bones. The enamel differs from your bones in that it does not contain living tissues.

The dentin, which is located underneath the enamel is a bone-like substance. Most of the teeth’s structure is made from this substance. The next layer is known as known as cementum and is also bone-like in its structure. Cementum is located around the tooth roots and plays a role in attaching the tooth to the surrounding bone.

Inside the tooth is a soft, living tissue called pulp. The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.

What are the differences between teeth and bones?

Although the teeth and bones both store calcium and are made from strong substances, there are a few key differences in the way that they function. One of the biggest differences between teeth and bones is that bones have the ability to heal, while teeth do not. If you fracture a bone, the body naturally begins to heal by forming an area of collagen on the damaged tissue. As the body keeps healing, this collagen hardens and new bone tissue is formed.

If you break a tooth, however, it is not capable of healing itself. This is because the enamel does not contain any living tissue that can regenerate.

How can you protect your teeth?

Because your teeth do not have the ability to heal and regenerate, it is very important that you take proper care of them and protect them from damage. One of the best ways to do this is to practice proper oral hygiene every day to keep harmful bacteria at bay. By brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, it is possible to protect your teeth from issues like tooth decay and gum disease. It is also advisable that you see your dentist for regular check-ups. If you have any serious concerns, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon who will help to resolve the issue.

How can we help?

At OMFS, our team of surgeons is dedicated to ensuring the very best care for each and every patient. We want our patients to enjoy healthy smiles for life, and offer a range of treatments designed to improve oral function.

Some of the treatments that we offer include oral surgeries such as exposure of teeth, surgical removal of teeth, and wisdom teeth surgery; dental implants; bone and soft-tissue grafting; implant-supported dentures; All-on-4; and zygomatic dental implants. As oral and maxillofacial specialists, we treat the bones, as well as the teeth and offer procedures for the face and jaw, as well as procedures for the treatment of facial trauma.

To arrange an appointment, please get in touch here or give us a call on (03) 9347 3788.