den·​tin ˈden-tᵊn How to pronounce dentin (audio)
variants or dentine
: a calcareous material similar to but harder and denser than bone that composes the principal mass of a tooth see tooth illustration
dentinal adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Our teeth produce enough dentin on their own to repair small cracks and injuries, but when a larger cavity necessitates drilling, our teeth aren't up to the job. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 10 Jan. 2017 His team finely analyzes the layers of dentin in fossilized tusks. Amber Dance, Discover Magazine, 27 Nov. 2018 The plasma kept the dentin, the fibrous bonelike material that makes up most of a tooth under the outer enamel layer, intact, while reducing bacteria 10,000-fold. Allison Bond, Discover Magazine, 6 Feb. 2010 Shark teeth have dentin, like human teeth, according to the Dental Center of Indiana. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 9 Aug. 2022 This cycle of violence was revealed by a second signal in Fred’s tusks, encoded in oxygen isotopes, which tracked the steady sawtooth tick of the seasons passing by and provided a kind of calendar kept in dentin. Peter Brannen, The Atlantic, 22 June 2022 His teeth are chewed down to nubs, the dentin and nerves exposed. Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2021 Once the enamel is dissolved, the underlying portion of the tooth, the dentin, is softer and more easily destroyed by the acid, thus leading to wider and deeper expansion of the cavity. Jeffrey Ebersole, The Conversation, 18 May 2021 The erosion of enamel can also cause teeth to become more yellow over the long-term, as the yellow-colored dentin, the inner layer of tooth, is exposed. Lisa Drayer, CNN, 3 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dentin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1845, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dentin was circa 1845

Dictionary Entries Near dentin

Cite this Entry

“Dentin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


den·​tin ˈdent-ᵊn How to pronounce dentin (audio)
variants or dentine
: a calcium-containing material that is similar to bone but harder and that makes up the principal mass of a tooth

Medical Definition


den·​tin ˈdent-ᵊn How to pronounce dentin (audio)
variants or dentine
: a calcareous material similar to bone but harder and denser that composes the principal mass of a tooth, is formed by the odontoblasts of the surface of the dental papilla, and consists of a matrix containing minute parallel tubules which open into the pulp cavity and during life contain processes of the cells of the pulp compare cementum, enamel

More from Merriam-Webster on dentin

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