ABRASION - Removal of tooth structure due to rubbing and scraping (e.g. incorrect brushing method)
ABSCESS - A collection of pus. Severe decay, periodontal disease, or trauma are causative factors. It is characterized by swelling and pain. If an abscess ruptures, it will be accompanied by sudden relief from pain due to a reduction in pressure. A foul taste may also be noticed. Treated with antibiotics and possibly a root canal. ABUTMENT A tooth or tooth structure which is responsible for the anchorage of a bridge or a denture. The teeth on either side of a missing tooth.
ADJUSTMENT - A modification made upon a dental prosthesis after it has been completed and inserted into the mouth.
ALGINATE - An impression material used for making stone models.
ALVEOLUS - An opening in your jaw-bone in which a tooth is attached. The tooth socket.
AMALGAM - A silver/mercury mixture which is used for fillings.
ANESTHETIC - An agent that causes temporary loss of sensation/feeling.
ANTERIOR - The front position. An adjective used to describe things pertaining to your Centrals, laterals and cuspids (your front teeth).
APEX - The very bottom of the root of your tooth
ARCH - A curvature; both the maxillary and mandibular ridges form a horseshoe shaped arch.
ARTICULATING PAPER - Carbon paper; placed between the upper and lower teeth to mark contact.
ARTICULATOR - A mechanical device used to replicate functional movements of the jaw to casts.
ATTRITION - Wear of teeth due to activities such as chewing.
BICUSPIDS Having two cusps. The first and second bicuspids; they are the fourth and fifth teeth from the center of the mouth, respectively.
BITE The way the mouth closes, or the way in which the upper and lower teeth meet.
BITEWING A kind of dental x-ray which is taken with the teeth biting together. The main function of this kind of x-ray is to detect cavities in between teeth and height of bone support.
BLEACHING Whitening of teeth using peroxide. The over-the-counter whitening products are not prescription strength and are therefore less effective.
BRIDGE A prosthesis which is fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.
BRUXISM Involuntary, "nervous" grinding of the teeth while the patient is asleep. Can eventually cause headaches, TMD, loss of tooth surface and cracking. Treatment includes a nightguard custommade from impressions made of the patient's teeth.
BUCCAL The tooth surface which is next to your cheek. Usually only posterior teeth touch your cheeks, so people usually use the term "buccal" only when talking about your back teeth.
CALCULUS A hard deposit that forms when you do not brush your teeth, so the plaque hardens. Calculus is also known as tartar.
CANAL The narrow chamber inside the root of a tooth that contains nerve tissue and blood vessels.
CANINE The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are 4 of them. They are typically the longest teeth in humans.
CANKER SORE An ulceration with a yellow base and red border in the mouth. It can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus.
CARIES Another name for a cavity (tooth decay)
CAVITY A small hole in one of your teeth caused by tooth decay.
CAST A model of teeth.
CEMENTATION The process of "gluing" the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.
CEMENTUM A bony substance covering the root of a tooth.
CERVICAL Pertaining to the neck of a tooth.
CHLORHEXIDINE An anti-microbial agent. It is available in many forms such as gels and rinses. It is an effective agent in controlling gum diseases.
CLASP A metal arm that extends from a removable partial denture. It holds on to natural tooth structure and thus provides anchorage for the denture.
COLD SORE An ulcer or blister on the lip. A form of herpes simplex.
COMPOSITE White filling.
CROSS-BITE An abnormal bite relationship of the upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth align toward the check side more than the upper teeth.
CROWN The part of your tooth above your gum.
CROWN (PORCELAIN/ACRYLIC/GOLD) A crown is almost like a "cap" on a tooth. It covers the tooth partially or totally above the gum to restore its function and outlook.
CURETTAGE A periodontal procedure where your gums are scraped to remove bacteria.
CUSP The chewing or tearing points of the cuspids, bicuspids, and molars.
CUSPID The third tooth from the center of the mouth towards the back, also known as canine.
CUSTOM TRAY An individual tray custom made to fit a patient's mouth.
DEBRIDEMENT Treatment of a bacterial infection by removing irritants (bacteria, calculus) from the periodontal pocket so as to allow healing of adjacent tissues.
DECALCIFICATION The loss of calcium from your teeth. This weakens your teeth and makes them more susceptible to decay
DECAY The rotten part of the tooth.
DECIDUOUS TEETH Baby teeth; teeth that exfoliate or shed. see PRIMARY TEETH.
DEMINERALIZATION Loss of mineral from tooth enamel just below the surface in a carious lesion; usually appearing as a white area on the tooth surface.
DENTIN The calcium part of a tooth below the enamel containing the pulp chamber and root canals.
DENTIPATCH An adhesive strip applied by the dentist to the gum to prevent pain of the local anesthetic injection.
DENTITION The position, type, and number of teeth in the upper and lower jaw.
DENTURE (IMMEDIATE/COMPLETE/PARTIAL) (OVERDENTURE, TEMPORARY) An artificial object to replace missing teeth and their neighboring structures. There are many different types of dentures to satisfy different treatment requirements and patient preferences.
DESENSITIZATION A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.
DIAGNOSIS The process of identifying dental disease.
DIAGNOSTIC Procedures performed by the dentist to identify what's going on in the mouth.
DIASTEMA A wide space in between two adjacent teeth. Usually refers to the front teeth.
DISINFECTANT A chemical agent which is applied onto inanimate surfaces, for example chairs, to destroy germs.
DISINFECTION A cleaning process which destroys most microorganisms, but not highly resistant forms such as bacterial and mycotic spores or the AIDS virus.
DISTAL A direction indication in the mouth. Towards the back of the mouth. It indicates the direction away from the middle of the jaw. For example you might say that the first bicuspid is distal to the cuspid.
LABIAL Relating to the lip; another name for the facial surface of anterior teeth (next to the lip).
LAMINATE VENEER A porcelain, or composite covering which is bonded to restore discolored, or damaged teeth.
LINGUAL The side of the tooth towards the tongue.
LOCAL ANESTHESIA Relieves the sensation of pain in a localized area.
MANDIBLE The lower jaw
MANDIBULAR Pertaining to the lower jaw
MARGIN The point at which prepared tooth structure ends and unprepared tooth begins. The junction between a crown and the tooth.
MARYLAND BRIDGE A type of Bonded Bridge. Its main difference from conventional bridges is in the reduced amount of abutment preparation necessary. Only the lingual surfaces of the abutments are reduced.
MAXILLA The upper jaw
MAXILLARY Pertaining to the upper jaw
MESIAL The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw. MIDLINE A plane through the very center of your mouth parallel to the long axis of the nose.
MIXED DENTITION The situation when both deciduous and permanent teeth are present.
MOLAR The last 3 upper and lower teeth on both side of the mouth.
MOUTHGUARD A device to be worn in the mouth. Depending on the design, it prevents injury of the teeth and/or jaw during teeth grinding or sport events.
MUCOSA The thin, outer pink or red membrane lining the inside of the oral cavity.
NIGHTGUARD A mouthguard which is worn at night time.
OBTURATE To fill a root canal
OCCLUSAL The biting surface of the back teeth.
OCCLUSAL PLANE The imaginary surface on which the upper and lower teeth meet.
OCCLUSAL TRAUMA Results from excessive force placed on a normal dentition, i.e. grinding and clenching of teeth. If left uncontrolled, occlusal trauma may result in rapid attachment loss and bone destruction.
OCCLUSION The way the upper and lower teeth close together.
ONLAY A restoration which covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.
OPEN BITE The situation in which the upper teeth are not able to contact the opposing lower teeth.
ORAL CAVITY The mouth.
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON Treats and surgically corrects diseases, injuries and defects of the mouth and jaws.
ORAL SEDATION Any substance taken orally (i.e., a pill or liquid) to reduce anxiety and relax the patient. Used in conjunction with some form of anesthesia during dental procedures.
ORTHODONTICS A special field in dentistry which involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities or facial irregularities.
OVER BITE The overlap of upper teeth and lower teeth when they close together.
OVERHANG The portion of filling material that hangs beyond the border of the cavity.
PA See PERIAPICAL. PALATE The roof of the mouth. PANORAMIC RADIOGRAPH (PANOREX) An x-ray film used to obtain the wide view of the upper and lower jaws and their associated structures.
PARTIAL DENTURE A removable appliance that replaces some of the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.
PEDODONTIST (PEDO) A dentist who specializes in the treatment of children's teeth.
PERFORATION An opening in a tooth or other oral structure.
PERIAPICAL The surrounding area at the bottom of the root of a tooth. An x-ray of this area of individual teeth or groups of teeth.
PERIAPICAL ABSCESS Infection of the pulp of the tooth and tissues surrounding the base of the tooth.
PERICORONITIS Infection of the tissue overlying a partially erupted tooth. Treatment involves keeping this tissue clean and free of bacteria.
PERIODONTAL Pertaining to your gums and the supporting tissues of the teeth. For example periodontal disease is gum disease.
PERIODONTAL CHARTING Measures the pocket depth resulting from attachment loss between the gums and teeth.
PERIODONTAL LIGAMENT The fibers which suspend the tooth in the bony socket; it is attached at one end to the cementum, and at the other end to the alveolar bone of the socket.
PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE Cleaning of the teeth following periodontal treatment includes periodontal charting.
PERIODONTAL POCKET The pocket that forms when the gums lose attachment from the teeth.
PERIODONTAL PROBE A dental instrument used to measure pocket depth.
PERIODONTICS A specialty of dentistry involved in diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the supporting unit of teeth, specifically the gums and bone.
PERIODONTITIS A form of periodontal disease affecting adults resulting in destruction of alveolar bone.
PERIODONTIUM The structures that surround and support the teeth.
PERMANENT DENTITION See PERMANENT TEETH.
PERMANENT TEETH Adult teeth. The first permanent tooth usually comes in around 6 years old. PIN A piece of "nail-like" metal. It usually is used for better retention of a filling.
PLAQUE A white, sticky substance containing acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
POLISH A process to make the tooth, filling, or denture smooth and glossy.
PONTIC The false tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.
PORCELAIN VENEER Ultra-thin shells of ceramic material bonded to the front of the tooth. POST A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal, fiber or carbon. Its function usually is to support a big buildup on a tooth. POSTERIOR An adjective used to describe things pertaining to the back of your mouth or your back teeth.
POSTERIOR TEETH The back teeth (Bicuspids and molars).
PRE-AUTHORIZATION An approval from the particular authority (usually insurance company in dentistry) before any action (treatment) is carried out.
PRE-MEDICATION Medication that needs to be taken before treatment. Usually apples to patients who have mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation or who have had a recent joint replacement.
PREMOLAR The two teeth located in front of the molar.
PRESCRIPTION A written statement (from a doctor to a pharmacist) regarding the type, the amount and direction of the use of a medication for a patient. In dentistry, prescription can also be a written statement on the preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician
PRIMARY TEETH Baby teeth.
PROCERA Procera is a type of Porcelain Crown. They are one of the strongest all-porcelain crowns available. Procera’s framework is computer generated; porcelain is then added to the structure.
PROPHYLAXIS/PROPHY The procedure of teeth polishing. It also means the prevention of diseases.
PROSTHESIS An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.
PROSTHODONTICS A specialty of dentistry involved in diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.
PROXIMAL Refers to the surfaces of teeth that touch the next tooth; the space between adjacent teeth is the interproximal space.
PULP The soft inner structure of a tooth, consisting of nerve and blood vessels
PULP CHAMBER The very inner part of your tooth containing nerve cells and blood vessels.
PULPECTOMY The removal of the whole pulp inside a tooth.
PULPOTOMY The removal of the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.