close up photo of a tooth

What is the difference between our teeth and our bones?

If you were to take a look at an X-ray of an average human being, you would be able to see how our teeth are a connected part of our skeletal system. Therefore, logically speaking, it should follow that the teeth are simply another set of bones, just like the bones in our arms, legs or head. Yet, this is not the case.

Your teeth are actually quite different from your bones, not least because they are made from different substances, and also due to your teeth usually being a lot more exposed compared to the other bones in your body.

It is largely due to this exposure that dental procedures such as dental implants in Melbourne are available for your teeth rather than other parts of the body. By exploring and understanding some of these differences between your teeth and bones, you can hopefully learn how best to care for your mouth, as well as your whole body.

What are teeth and bones made of?

teeth xrayThere are two main layers in adult teeth: the dentine and the enamel which sits on top of it. The enamel is a substance that is designed to help protect your teeth against physical damage, as well as damage from sugary and acidic foodstuffs and unlike most other parts of your body, enamel does not have its own living cells and therefore it is not able to heal itself if it becomes too damaged.

As for the dentine, it wraps around the ‘pulp’ of the tooth. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels under the surface of your teeth, and given that they are naturally more sensitive, the dentine serves to protect them.

Whilst bones do also contain a lot of sensitive, living substances within them, rather than having a mass of nerves and blood vessels, bones usually have a growing protein tissue, known as collagen. This protein tissue allows the bones to absorb damage and pressure from external sources more easily and with less of a chance of fracturing than a tooth would have. Furthermore, as mentioned the bones are not exposed as the teeth are, so they do not have a layer similar to the enamel on the teeth, as the skin, and flesh of the human body does this job of protection for them.

Differences between how the teeth and bones work

As discussed above, the exact make-up of the teeth versus the bones can be quite different, however they do share some similarities in terms of some of the minerals they contain, such as calcium and phosphate. Both of these are strong minerals, which both the teeth and bones need in order to withstand many of the near constant pressures that they face. Teeth need to withstand the pressure from sources such as chewing, biting and grinding of teeth against one another, whilst your bones are always at work in supporting the overall weight of your body. In this sense, it can be said that the teeth and bones have quite similar jobs.

They differ in terms of how effective they are though, as the teeth are actually a lot stronger than most bones. This is because your tooth enamel can stretch these hard minerals out more times than your bones, thus making the teeth extremely resilient.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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