Importance of Roots and Cementum

While a bright smile can boost our confidence, we shouldn’t forget to pay attention to what’s happening to our teeth below the gum line. The roots and cementum of our teeth help keep our smile healthy and beautiful. Dr. James Fondriest, explains the importance of our less visible tooth structure.


The roots of our teeth are hidden beneath our gums and help anchor the teeth into place. Some teeth, such as our incisors, only have one root. Others, like our molars, have up to four. Inside the canals of the roots are extensions of the tooth’s inner pulp. The pulp is a mass of living tissue that keeps the tooth healthy and alive. The very ends of the roots have miniscule openings, where connecting tissue allows blood to flow into the tooth.


Instead of enamel, the roots below the gum line are coated in a tough substance called cementum. Similar to bone, cementum protects the roots from bacteria. The gums attach themselves to the cementum to help hold the tooth into place.

Protect Your Smile

Together, your roots and their cementum coating help protect the sensitive inner tissue and enable crucial blood flow into the tooth. Occasionally, a patient can develop cavities in their roots. When decay begins in the root, bacteria can reach the inner pulp, causing infection. If left untreated, the pulp can die, killing the tooth. A variety of factors can lead to root cavities, including gum disease and certain medications. But the most common cause is simply poor oral hygiene. When we don’t care for our teeth, bacteria break down the food particles in our mouths. As the bacteria spread and multiply, the gums become inflamed and being to pull away from the teeth. This forms pockets at the gum line, exposing the roots and increasing the risk of root cavities. To fight this, always brush twice a day and floss once. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. These steps can cleanse the mouth of bacteria and food particles, protecting your roots.

Schedule a Visit with Your Lake Forest Cosmetic Dentist

Want a beautiful, bright smile? Talk to Dr. Fondriest today! We offer patients the latest in innovative restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Call your Lake Forest cosmetic dentist at 847-234-0517. Our office welcomes patients from Lake Forest and North Shore suburbs near Chicago.