The roots of human teeth revealed

Just as plants have roots to keep them securely in place and provide an access route for nutrients, so do our teeth. We created this animation of a human mandible (see a non-animated version here) becoming partially transparent to show the part of teeth that most people have never seen: the extensive root system of teeth that helps keep them securely anchored in the jaw while also providing a means of access for blood vessels and nerves. For some teeth, the root is longer than the upper portion (crown) of the tooth itself. There is also considerable diversity in the shape of tooth roots, even within humans, including the number of separate roots extending from each crown. This rendering was created by combining CT data from multiple human specimens since no single specimen available to us had a completely intact set of teeth.

Digital design and rendering by: Aaron Olsen, PhD

Segmentation by: J.D. Laurence-Chasen, PhD; Aaron Olsen, PhD

Software used: 3D Slicer for segmenting; Blender for digital design and rendering

License: CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios