Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body and is one of the four major tissues which make up the tooth, along with dentin, cementum, and dental pulp.
It is normally visible and must be supported by underlying dentin. Ninety-six percent of enamel consists of mineral, with water and organic material composing the rest. The normal color of enamel varies from light yellow to grayish white. At the edges of teeth where there is no dentin underlying the enamel, the color sometimes has a slightly blue tone.
Since enamel is semitranslucent, the color of dentin and any restorative dental material underneath the enamel strongly affects the appearance of a tooth. Enamel varies in thickness over the surface of the tooth and is often thickest at the cusp, up to 2.5 mm, and thinnest at its border, which is seen clinically as the cementoenamel junction.
Dentin is the substance between enamel or cementum and the pulp chamber. It is secreted by the odontoblasts of the dental pulp. The formation of dentin is known as dentinogenesis. The porous, yellow-hued material is made up of 70% inorganic materials, 20% organic materials, and 10% water by weight. Because it is softer than enamel, it decays more rapidly and is subject to severe cavities if not properly treated, but dentin still acts as a protective layer and supports the crown of the tooth.
Dentin is a mineralized connective tissue with an organic matrix of collagenous proteins. Dentin has microscopic channels, called dentinal tubules, which radiate outward through the dentin from the pulp cavity to the exterior cementum or enamel border.
Cementum is a specialized bony substance covering the root of a tooth. It is approximately 45% inorganic material (mainly hydroxyapatite), 33% organic material (mainly collagen) and 22% water. Cementum is excreted by cementoblasts within the root of the tooth and is thickest at the root apex. Its coloration is yellowish and it is softer than either dentin or enamel. The principal role of cementum is to serve as a medium by which the periodontal ligaments can attach to the tooth for stability.
The dental pulp is the central part of the tooth filled with soft connective tissue.
This tissue contains blood vessels and nerves that enter the tooth from a hole at the apex of the root.