Although it is commonly considered that, in birds, there is a trend towards reduced dentition, teeth persisted in birds for 90 Ma and numerous macroscopic morphologies are observed. However, the extent to which the microstructure of bird teeth differs from other lineages is poorly understood. To explore the microstructural differences of the teeth of birds in comparison with closely related non-avialan dinosaurs, the enamel and dentine-related features were evaluated in four Mesozoic paravian species from the Yanliao and Jehol biotas. Different patterns of dentinal tubular tissues with mineralized extensions of the odontoblast processes were revealed through the examination of histological sectioning under electron microscopy. Secondary modification of the tubular structures, forming reactive sclerotic dentin of Longipteryx, and the mineralization of peritubular dentin of Sapeornis were observed in the mantle dentin region. The new observed features combined with other dentinal-associated ultrastructure suggest that the developmental mechanisms controlling dentin formation are quite plastic, permitting the evolution of unique morphologies associated with specialized feeding behaviours in the toothed birds. Proportionally greater functional stress placed on the stem bird teeth may have induced reactive dentin mineralization, which was observed more often within tubules of these taxa. This suggests modifications to the dentin to counteract potential failure.