Why do teeth have/need nerves?

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A tooth has two nerve endings. One is the pulp cavity, which is depicted in this image in red with yellow nerve fibres descending into the root canals. During a root canal operation, this cavity is reamed out and filled with gutta-percha. The inner tissue (dentin) of the tooth is nourished by the blood supply in this cavity. The periodontal ligament, the fine pink line I show between the cementum and alveolar bone (jawbone), is the other location of nerve fibers. I didn’t try to explicitly illustrate the nerves there, but they are significant to our discussion. The jawbones and teeth are not directly connected or held firmly in place.These nerves detect the slight movement of teeth in their sockets caused by the periodontal ligaments as we chew.

Undoubtedly, the nerves in our teeth provide us sensitivity to pain, heat, and cold. Even while it’s tough to imagine how dental thermoreception evolved (given that our prehistoric ancestors didn’t consume popsicles or hot tea), there probably is an evolutionary basis for it. However, it is simple to understand the significance of being conscious of tooth pain.

Proprioception, the brain’s unconscious awareness of the position and movement of bodily parts, is, in my opinion, even more significant. Literally, this term refers to the sense of one’s own [body] as opposed to external stimuli. To give a simple illustration, proprioception enables you to extend your arm, close your eyes, and precisely bring your fingertip inward to touch your nose while you’re not intoxicated. All of our limb movements, including walking, running, and dancing, as well as our capacity to stand and sit up straight and maintain posture, depend on proprioception. Mechanoreception, or the sensory perception of mechanical stimuli, includes proprioception.

Despite the fact that we rarely give it any thought, proprioception is also crucial for our teeth. It’s the reason we sometimes feel a small piece of food between our teeth and try to remove it with the tongue, dental floss, or a toothpick. It’s one way we can tell if we have sufficiently chewed our food to swallow it.

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