glossary

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

AmalgamMaterial made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth
AnesthesiaMedications used to relieve pain
Anterior teethFront teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids
ArchThe upper or lower jaw


B

Baby bottle tooth decayCaused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth
BicuspidsA premolar tooth; tooth with two cusps, which are pointed or rounded eminences on or near the masticating surface of a tooth 
BitewingsX-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities 
BondingApplication of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth
BridgeA prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment teeth or implant replacements
BruxismTeeth grinding


C

CalculusA hard deposit of mineralized substance adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth or prosthetic devices
CanalThe narrow chamber inside the tooth's root
CaninesAlso called cuspids
Canker soreOne 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
CariesA commonly used term for tooth decay, or cavities
Cold soreUsually 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 fillingTooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings
Composite resinA tooth colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material
ContouringThe process of reshaping teeth
CrownAn artificial tooth replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure. It is also placed on a dental implant
CuspsThe pointed parts on top of the back teeth's chewing surface
CuspidsFront teeth that typically have a protruding edge


D

DentinThe tooth layer underneath the enamel
DenturesA removable set of teeth


E

EndodonticsA form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth's root or nerve


F

FluorideA naturally-occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay
FluorosisA harmless over-exposure to fluoride sometimes resulting in tooth discoloration


G

GingivaAnother word for gum tissue
GingivitisA minor disease of the gums caused by plaque
Gum diseaseAn infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease


I

Impacted teethA condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts 
ImplantA permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth 
IncisorFront teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front 
InlayAn artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold


L

Laminate veneerA shell, usually thin and made from porcelain resin, that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth


M

MalocclusionBad bite relationship
MandibleThe lower jaw 
MaxillaThe upper jaw 
MolarUsually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.


N

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


O

OnlayA filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth
OrthodonticsA field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment
OverdentureA non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants


P

PalateRoof of the mouth
Partial dentureA removable appliance that replaces missing teeth 
Pediatric DentistryA field of dentistry that deals with children’s teeth 
Perio pocketAn opening formed by receding gums 
Periodontal diseaseInfection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease 
PeriodontistA dentist who treats diseases of the gums 
Permanent teethThe teeth that erupt after primary teeth, also called adult teeth 
PlaqueA sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing 
Posterior teethThe bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth
Primary teethA person's first set of teeth, also called baby teeth or temporary teeth
ProphylaxisThe act of cleaning the teeth
ProsthodonticsThe field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances
PulpThe inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue


R

Receding gumA condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth's enamel and surrounding bone
Resin fillingAn artificial filling used to restore teeth, also called a composite filling
Root canalA procedure in which a tooth's nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled
Root planingScraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line


S

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

T

TMJTemporomandibular joint disorder or health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear
TarterA hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth’s surface


V

VeneerA laminate applied or bonded to the tooth


W

WhiteningA process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth
Wisdom toothThird set of molars that erupt last in adolescence