The part of the tooth you can see is called the crown. The outer surface of the crown is made of enamel. Just beneath the enamel is dentin, a substance harder than bone. The gum surrounds the base (root) of the tooth.
The root of the tooth extends down into the jawbone. The root contains blood vessels and nerves, which supply blood and feeling to the whole tooth. This area is known as the "pulp" of the tooth.
The jawbone is attached to all of the teeth. It keeps your teeth stable and allows you to move your mouth and teeth to chew. The lower jawbone is called the mandible. The upper jawbone is called the maxilla.
Adoff S. Dental and mouth pain. In: Olympia RP, O'Neill RM, Silvis ML, eds. Urgent Care Medicine Secrets. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 4.
Norton NS. Oral cavity. In: Norton NS, ed. Netter's Head and Neck Anatomy for Dentistry. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 13.
Review Date 7/19/2021
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.