Your Dentist Answers: Are Teeth and Bones the Same?


The similarities between your bones and your teeth lead many to believe that they are one and the same substance (although half of every tooth is exposed, unlike your bones). The truth, though, is that healthy tooth enamel is extremely more resilient than your bones, and there a few other key differences that affect the way you maintain and care for your teeth. Today, your dentist explores some of these differences, and how they make your teeth simultaneously stronger and more vulnerable than your bones.

Different Structures

While different, teeth and bones share a number of important similarities, hence the common confusion that they’re the same material. For instance, bones and teeth are both formed by calcium and phosphate mineral crystals. However, the proteins that transform these crystals into tooth enamel stretch the minerals thousands of times longer and stronger than those produced by bone-forming proteins. To remain strong, enamel requires a steady supply of these minerals to continuously refortify itself.

Different Healing Abilities

One of the more significant differences between bones and teeth is that a tooth doesn’t possess the cells necessary to repair or rebuild itself when damaged. If you break or fracture a bone, it will fuse back together and be as good as new, so long as the bone is set to heal properly. If you fracture or break a tooth, it will remain broken and vulnerable to infectious tooth decay, and possibly break further, until you actively seek dental treatment. Also unlike bone, you can lose teeth to damage and disease, though with dental implants, you can restore your tooth’s entire root-and-crown structure to help preserve the rest of your oral health.