Great Dentists

Dental Terms



A B  C  D  E  H  I  M  O  P  R  T 

A

Abscess

a localized infected swelling caused by bacterial byproducts, i.e. pus.

Abutment

a tooth root or implant on either side of a space used to support an artificial tooth.

Air Abrasion

used to remove shallow tooth decay without a drill or injection. It works by using fine sand particles and compressed air.

Alveolar process

the part of the jaw that holds the teeth.

Amalgam

an alloy consisting of combination of nickel, mercury, silver, and tin used to fill cavities in teeth.

Anterior

refers to the front area of the mouth.

Apex

the tip of a tooth’s root structure.

Apicoectomy

the surgical removal of the apex after which a root canal is performed in a retrograde manner.

B

Bell's palsy

trauma inflicted on the facial nerve which temporarily or permanently paralyzes eye and part of the mouth on either side of the face. This is caused by injury or infection.

Bicuspids

or premolars; teeth that exist between the canine teeth and molars.

Bonding

a composite resin material bonded to teeth and cured by a light source to cover stains or improve appearance.

Bridge

an artificial fixed or removable prosthesis used to replace missing teeth.

Bruxizm

conscious or unconscious grinding of teeth causing wear and sometimes TMJ disorders.

C

Calculus

hardened plaque formed around the teeth, yielding to gum disease and tooth loss.

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

the area of the tooth that is seen in the mouth. Also a fabricated cap made of gold, metal, or porcelain used to cover damaged tooth.

Cusp

pointed projection on the biting surface of tooth.

Cuspids

see Canine teeth

D

Deciduous teeth

primary baby teeth that are replaced by permanent teeth approximately two years of age.

Dentin

the mid portion of tooth surrounding the pulp and covered by enamel.

Denture

a partial or full set of artificial removable teeth.

E

Enamel

the outer hard white cover of teeth.

Extrusion

the extension of a tooth beyond the norm.

Gingivitis inflammation of the gum tissue yielding swollen, red, and bleeding. This is caused by poor oral hygiene and the build-up of plaque on teeth.

H

Halitosis

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

I

Impacted tooth

the condition in which a tooth is unable to erupt naturally because of its position against the gum or bone, requiring surgery rather than a simple removal of the tooth.

Implant

tooth replacement embedded in the bone to provide structure for an artificial fixed restoration.

Incisors

the four front teeth used for initially biting in to food.

M

Malocclusion

(bad bite) improper biting 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. There are six molars in each jaw, with the last molars are known as wisdom teeth.

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

O

Overbite

vertical overlapping of upper teeth over the lower teeth due to teeth and/or jaws discrepancies.

P

Papillae

small circular projections on the tongue and in between teeth.

Partial denture

removable prosthesis replacing one or more missing teeth, but not a complete set.

Plaque

the thin film on the surface of teeth caused by saliva and bacterial byproducts due to poor oral hygiene.

Pontic

a fabricated tooth of a fixed bridge that replaces natural tooth.

Post

a metal or composite support used to reinforce a tooth that has been treated with a root canal therapy.

Posterior

term describing the back part of the mouth.

Premolars

see bicuspids.

Prosthesis

referring to artificial part of the human body.

Pulp

the vital innermost portion of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels.

Pulpectomy

the complete removal of the tooth's pulp.

Pulpotomy

partial removal of the tooth's pulp used in pediatric dentistry.

R

Root canal

spaces in the root system that contains pulp tissue.

Root canal therapy

a procedure in which root canal is cleaned, shaped and filled.

T

Tartar

a hard substance consisting of calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, and organic matter on natural or artificial teeth. This could lead to gum recession, bone loss and subsequent tooth loss.

TMJ

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