Dentist explains why and how best to protect teeth

Teeth are amazing little miracles. They light up our smiles, we use them to speak and we chew with them more than 600 times at every meal.

Yet, in a society where 1 out of 5 Americans ages 75 and up live without their teeth, many people may not realise that teeth are designed to stay with us for a lifetime.

I’m a dentist and an assistant professor spanning clinical dentistry and craniofacial regeneration research. Researchers like me are still deepening our understanding of tooth development, with the ultimate goal of serving patients with on-demand regrown ones.

In the process, I have developed reverence for natural teeth and for the complex beauty of these biological and mechanical masterpieces.

Designed for lifelong function


The secret of teeth longevity lies in their durability as well as in how they are anchored to the jaw – picture a hammer and its hand grip. For each tooth, durability and anchorage are functions of the complex interface between six different tissues; each alone is a biological marvel.

For anchorage, the cementum, ligament and bone grip the tooth at its root portion that is buried under the gum. The ligament, a soft tissue that is about 0.2 millimetres wide , attaches the cementum of the root on one end to the bone of the jaw on the other end. It serves to anchor the tooth as well as to cushion its movement during chewing.

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