The cementum surrounds the exterior part of the root area and separates the root of the tooth from the gum and jawbone.
The cells of cementum are the entrapped cementoblasts, the cementocytes. Each cementocyte lies in its lacuna, similar to the pattern noted in bone. These lacunae also have canaliculi or canals. Unlike those in bone, however, these canals in cementum do not contain nerves, nor do they radiate outward. Instead, the canals are oriented toward the periodontal ligament and contain cementocytic processes that exist to diffuse nutrients from the ligament because it is vascularized.
After the apposition of cementum in layers, the cementoblasts that do not become entrapped in cementum line up along the cemental surface along the length of the outer covering of the periodontal ligament. These cementoblasts can form subsequent layers of cementum if the tooth is injured.
Sharpey fibers are part of the principal collagenous fibers of the periodontal ligament embedded in the cementum and alveolar bone to attach the tooth to the alveolus.
If cementum can be observed on teeth, it can imply that the roots are exposed, showing that the clinical crown (the exposed part of the tooth) is bigger than the anatomical crown (the surface of the tooth covered by enamel). This is often due to gingival recession and may be an indication of periodontal disease
The cementum joins the enamel to form the cementoenamel junction (CEJ), which is referred to as the cervical line.
Three possible types of transitional interfaces may be present at the CEJ. The traditional view was that certain interfaces dominated in certain oral cavities. The CEJ may exhibit all of these interfaces in an individual's oral cavity, and there is even considerable variation when one tooth is traced circumferentially.