GLOSSARY

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

A

Amalgam - Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.

 

Anesthesia - Medications used to relieve pain.

 

Anterior teeth - Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.

 

Arch - The upper or lower jaw.

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B

Baby bottle tooth decay - Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.

 

Bicuspids - Back teeth used for chewing.

 

Bitewings - X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.

 

Bonding - Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.

 

Bridge - A fixed or removable appliance that replaces lost teeth.

 

Bruxism - Teeth grinding.

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C

Calculus - A sticky substance (also called tartar) that has hardened.

 

Canal - The narrow chamber inside the tooth's root.

 

Canines - Also called cuspids.

 

Canker sore - One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.

 

Caries - Another term for decay, which causes cavities.

 

Cold sore - Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.

 

Composite filling - Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings.

 

Composite resin - A tooth-colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.

 

Contouring - The process of reshaping teeth.

 

Crown - An artificial cover that is placed on the top of a tooth following restoration.

 

Cusps - The pointed parts on top of the back teeth's chewing surface.

 

Cuspids - Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.

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D

Dentin - The tooth layer underneath the enamel.

 

Denture - A removable set of teeth.

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E

Endodontics - A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth's root or nerve.

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F

Fluoride - A naturally occurring substance added to water, toothpastes and some rinses and used for strengthening the tooth's enamel.

 

Fluorosis - A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.

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G

Gingiva - Another word for gum tissue.

 

Gingivitis - A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque.

 

Gum disease - An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease.

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I

Impacted teeth - A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.

 

Implant - A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.

 

Incisor - Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.

 

Inlay - An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.

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L

Laminate veneer - A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.

 

Laser - Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A single wavelength beam of highly concentrated energy.

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M

Malocclusion - Bad bite relationship.

 

Mandible - The lower jaw.

 

Maxilla - The upper jaw.

 

Molar - Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.

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N

Neuromuscular Dentistry - are more than the aches and pains felt in around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.

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O

Onlay - A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.

 

Orthodontics - A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.

 

Overdenture - A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.

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P

Palate - Roof of the mouth.

 

Partial denture - A removable appliance that replaces teeth. Also called a bridge.

 

Pedodontics - A field of dentistry that deals with children's teeth.

 

Perio pocket - An opening formed by receding gums.

 

Periodontal disease - Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.

 

Periodontist - A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.

Permanent teeth - The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.

 

Plaque - A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing.

 

Posterior teeth - The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.

 

Primary teeth - A person's first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.

 

Prophylaxis - The act of cleaning the teeth.

 

Prosthodontics - The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.

 

Pulp - The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.

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R

Receding gum - A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth's enamel and surrounding bone.

 

Resin filling - An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.

 

Root canal - A procedure in which a tooth's nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.

 

Root planing - Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.

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S

Sealant - A synthetic material placed on the tooth's surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces.

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T

TMJ - Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.

 

Tarter - A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth's surface.

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V

Veneer - A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.

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W

Whitening - A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.

 

Wisdom tooth - Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence.

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