Anatomical and Clinical Parts of Teeth

Anatomical and Clinical Parts of Teeth

When dealing with the terminology of teeth, you may come across the terms anatomical and clinical. We’re going to take a look at what those two terms mean.


One part of the tooth is called the crown.

The anatomical crown is covered with enamel. The anatomical crown is all of the tooth that is covered with the enamel. Then the clinical crown is a portion of the anatomical crown that is visible. The clinical crown is the part of the tooth that you see when you look in the mouth.

The anatomical crown is a formal definition, and the clinical crown is more of an informal definition, because the anatomical crown is always going to be the same. There’s always going to be the same portion of the tooth covered in enamel.

However, the clinical crown could change a little bit because sometimes more of the tooth is going to be showing than others.


Then there is the root.

The anatomical root is the portion of the tooth that is covered with cementum. Cementum is a bone-like substance that facilitates anchorage of the tooth in its bony socket, and the bony socket is called the alveoli.

Then there’s the clinical root which is the portion of the anatomical root that is embedded in the jaw.

Again, here you have a more formal definition, there’s always going to be the same anatomical root. It’s always going to be the part of the tooth covered with cementum. The clinical root could change, because in a patient with advanced bone loss the clinical root may be reduced in size.

Receding Gumline

Then also, someone may have a receding gumline.

When someone is younger the clinical crown might be kind of small but as they get older and the gumline recedes then the clinical crown is going to become bigger. However, the anatomical crown is going to be the same, because no matter how much of the tooth is showing.

Cervical Line

Then we have the cervical line, which separates the anatomic crown from the anatomic root.

Notice the cervical line doesn’t have anything to do with the clinical crown in the clinical root. That’s because that could change them.

The cervical line is always going to be the same because the anatomic crown and the anatomic root are always going to be the same. Now, the cervical line is basically a junction between these two tissues. The mammal and the cementum.

Another name for the cervical line is this cementoenamel junction, because it’s where this cementum and enamel join together. An abbreviation for this cementoenamel junction would be the CEJ, and then another name for this area is called the cervix of the tooth.

That’s a look at the anatomical and clinical parts of teeth.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: September 13, 2021