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Fast Facts - Cementum

Fast Facts

Fast Facts - Perio Edition Episode 16
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back,  everyone. You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
This week, we are continuing our conversation about anatomy, moving on to looking at how the anatomy of our hard tissue supports the attachment apparatus for, of course, our soft tissue.
And that conversation begins by talking about the cementum. So we know that cementum is that layer of mineralized tissue, and the idea behind this cementum, of course, is we want it to cover the root of the tooth. Cementum itself is not as calcified as some of our other tissues in the body, and the idea behind this, of course, is the fact that as a layer of cementum is laid down, it only calcifies to a certain amount before the next layer of cementum is laid down, meaning that cementum is never fully calcified.
That's where we get this concept that cementum is a relatively softer tissue of the hard tissues. Cementum is primarily laid down to permit the attachment of our periodontal ligament fibres into that root surface, and we all remember the term Sharpey's fibers from hygiene school, right? The idea behind Sharpey's fibres is that they are embedded into the cementum to allow for repositioning of the tooth in response, of course, to biting forces.
One thing to remember about the cementum, it does not contain any nerves or any blood vessels. So when a patient is sensitive, oftentimes it's not due to the cementum, but due to either decay or of course, the potential that there could be some recession and exposed tooth structure, specifically of the dentin. Stay tuned as we talk about that in future episodes.
Now, when we talk about cementum, one of the things that we specifically look at is the fact that cementum itself is not only soft, but also relatively permeable. It's a sensitive tissue, and because of that, it allows for bacterial byproducts and toxins to easily penetrate that cemental surface.
The challenge is, remember, for a long time, we thought that that meant that we had diseased cementum, meaning that in order to treat periodontal disease, we had to intentionally remove that diseased cementum. It is now recognized, however, that toxins are actually not deeply penetrated into the root surface, as once thought, rather that these toxins are loosely adherent and, of course, able to easily enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body. Stay tuned as we talk about that in future episodes. We know that because cementum is avascular and does not contain any lymph vessels or nerve endings that cementum primary focus remains maintaining support of the attachment apparatus by Sharpey's fibers.
Stay tuned for more anatomy talk next week!
This has been another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We'll see you next week for another Fast Fact!

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