Cementum is a part of your tooth you were never meant to see. It’s the outer covering of the tooth root that is specially designed to help fasten your teeth securely in the bone, and when it’s exposed it can cause problems.
Unfortunately, receding gums can sometimes expose cementum, and that might be a good reason to have receding gums treatment.
What Is Cementum?
Cementum is a mineralized tissue, somewhat similar to enamel, but different in composition and function. While tooth enamel is perhaps 96% minerals, making it very hard and impermeable, cementum has a much lower mineral content, about 50% or less.
Cementum is designed to be permeable to help the tooth exchange nutrients with its surroundings. It’s also rough in texture to help the periodontal ligaments attach to the tooth and hold it in place. Finally, cementum isn’t designed to be pretty. It’s yellowish and dull, not smooth, white, and lustrous like enamel.
Problems of Exposed Cementum
Because cementum is not designed to be exposed, when it is revealed it can lead to serious tooth problems. With its rough surface, cementum can be a place where some bacteria attach easily. With its lower mineral content, cementum is even more vulnerable to attack by bacteria than enamel is.
And because cementum is designed to be permeable, exposing it may make your teeth more vulnerable to changes in temperature, resulting in tooth sensitivity.
Is It Exposed?
If you have receding gums and you want to know if you see cementum, take a close-up look at your teeth that are most exposed. If your cementum has been exposed, you should see a transition from the white enamel to a duller material below. It is likely a yellowish color.
Even if you can’t see cementum, it might be exposed below the gum line. If you notice sensitivity from below the gumline when drinking hot or cold liquids, it’s likely you have exposed cementum in areas that you just can’t see.
If you would like to learn how receding gums treatment can help you, please call Restore Your Gums at 310-275-5325 (Beverly Hills) or 949-551-5902 (Orange County) for an appointment.