Flintridge Dental Group

Dental Glossary

Dental Glossary

From Flintridge Dental Group

Abscess– a swelling caused by an infection resulting in a pus-filled hole

Abutment– tooth, root or implant used to support an artificial tooth restoration

Air Abrasion – a method of removing tooth decay without a drill and anesthesia, by using compressed air and fine sand particles

Alveolar process – the part of the jaw that holds the teeth

Amalgam – combination of metals, usually including silver, nickel, and mercury that provide strong and durable filling

Anterior – term referring to the front area of the mouth

Apex – the end of the tooth root

Apicoectomy – the surgical removal of the apex after which the open end of the root is sealed with filling

Bell’s palsy – paralysis of the facial nerve resulting in the permanent or temporary immobilization of the eye on either side of the face. Usually caused by injury or infection

Bicuspids – (premolars) teeth between the canine teeth and molars.

Bonding – a cosmetic procedure in which teeth are coated with composite resin in order to cover stains or improve appearance

Bridge – an artificial fixed or removable prosthesis replacing one or more teeth

Bruxism – the habit of tooth grinding, usually during sleep, often resulting in loose or worn teeth, gum recession, destruction of the supportive bone and TMJ disorders.

Calculus – hardened deposit of mineral salts formed around the teeth

Canine teeth – teeth next to the lateral incisors identified by pointed cusp used for tearing food

Canker sores – painfull noncontagious sores that form inside the mouth and on the lips

Composite resin – a tooth-colored mixture of plastic resin and finely ground glass. Used to fill cavities in teeth

Crown – visible part of tooth covered by enamel. Crown – artificial – (cap) restoration made of metal or porcelain covering damaged tooth

Cusp – a pointed projection located on the chewing of bite surface of a tooth

Cuspids – see Canine teeth

Deciduous teeth – (baby teeth) first set of teeth that are later replaced by permanent teeth

Dentin – a mid part of tooth surrounding the pulp and connects to the pulp

Denture – a partial or a full set of artificial removable teeth to replace missing teeth

Enamel – the hard white outer covering of the tooth

Endodontics – an area of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp and the tissues at the root apex

Extrusion – the jutting of a tooth beyond its correct position

Gingivitis – a condition in which the gums are red, swollen and bleeding. Most cases result from poor oral hygiene and the build-up of plaque on teeth

Halitosis – bad breath, caused by tooth decay, gum disease, digestive problems, smoking or some systemic diseases

Impacted tooth – a condition in which a tooth is unable to erupt normally because of its position against the gum or bone

Implant – tooth replacement inserted into the bone in order to provide structure for an artificially fixed restoration

Incisors – (central and lateral) the four front teeth used for cutting food

Malocclusion – (bad bite) abnormal contact between upper and lower teeth

Mandible – the lower jawbone

Maxilla – the upper jawbone

Maxillofacial – relating to the lower half of the face

Molars – back teeth used for grinding food. The furthest (third) molars are also known as wisdom teeth.

Nitrous Oxide – (laughing gas) a gas used as an anesthetic in dentistry and other medical procedures

Orthodontics – branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis of misaligned teeth

Overbite – a vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower teeth

Papillae – small projections on the surface of the tongue

Partial – (denture) removable appliance replacing one or more teeth

Periodontal – relating to the gums and bone structure that surrounds and supports teeth

Plaque – a thin film on the surface of teeth made up of material in saliva containing bacteria

Pontic – the artificial tooth of the fixed bridge that replaces natural tooth

Post – a metal or carbon fiber support used to reinforce a tooth that has had a root canal therapy

Posterior – term referring to the back part of the mouth

Premolars – see bicuspids

Prosthetic – referring to the artificial part of the human body

Prosthodontics – branch of dentistry that specializes aesthetic restoration and replacement of damaged or missing teeth

Pulp – soft, spongy tissue in the center of the tooth made up of living connective tissue and cells

Pulpectomy – the complete removal of the tooth’s pulp

Pulpotomy – partial removal of the tooth’s pulp

Root canal – space in the root of tooth that contains pulp tissue

Root canal therapy – a procedure in which root canal is cleaned, shaped and filled

Tartar – a salivary deposit of calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, and organic matter on natural or artificial teeth

TMJ – (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome) a misalignment of the joint connecting upper and lower jaw resulting in muscle and joint pain in the jaw area.