Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain control warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Receding Gums Anatomy

To better understand periodontal disease, it helps to understand the anatomy of the teeth.


  • Primary or baby teeth: 12 total teeth
  • Permanent or secondary teeth: 32 total teeth

Tooth types:
  • Incisors: central and lateral incisors cut the food
  • Cuspids or canines cut and tear food
  • Pre-molars or bicuspids: shear the food
  • Molars: grind the food

Parts of a tooth:
  • Crown: The visible portion of a tooth.
  • Root: The portion of the tooth embedded in the gum.
  • Pulp: Located in the center of the tooth, it contains the arteries, veins, nerves and lymphatic tissue.

Layers of a tooth:
  • Dentin: underlies the enamel on the crown and cementum on the root
  • Enamel: the outer layer of the crown of the tooth; can be eroded by a cavity
  • Cementum: The outer layer of tissue covering the dentin on the root of the tooth

Portions of the tooth that hold it in place:
  • Gingiva: the gums are the soft tissues that surround the base of the tooth
  • Root canal: The canal in the root of the tooth is where the nerve and blood vessels travel with nutrients to the tooth from the mandible or the maxilla.
  • Ligament: The connective tissue that surrounds the root of a tooth and connects it to the maxilla or mandible.
  • Bone: Alveolar bone forms tooth socket and part of the teeth.

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Receding Gums References
  1. Bascones A, Gamonal J, Gomez M, Silva A, Gonzalez MA. New knowledge of the pathogenesis of periodontal disease. Quintessence Int. 2004 Oct;35(9):706-16. [15470994]
  2. Campus G, Salem A, Uzzau S, Baldoni E, Tonolo G. Diabetes and periodontal disease: a case-control study. J Periodontol. 2005 Mar;76(3):418-25. [15857077]
  3. Kinane DF, Lappin DF. Immune processes in periodontal disease: a review. Ann Periodontol. 2002 Dec;7(1):62-71. [16013218]
  4. Schifferle RE. Nutrition and periodontal disease. Dent Clin North Am. 2005 Jul;49(3):595-610, vii. [15978243]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.