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

Abscess

This is a collection of pus in teeth or gums that usually forms because of infection.

Abutment

A tooth or tooth structure that acts as the anchorage for a bridge or a denture.

Amalgam

A silver filling material.

Anesthetic

An agent that causes temporary loss of sensation or feeling.

Anterior

The front position.

Apex

The end of the root.

Asepsis

The absence or exclusion of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.

Attrition

The wearing down of teeth due to activities such as chewing.

Avulsed

An injury that causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of the mouth.

Bitewing

This is a dental X-ray taken when the top and bottom teeth bite together. The main function of this kind of X-ray is to detect cavities in between teeth and the level of bone support.

Bleaching

Whitening of teeth.

Bridge

This is a fixed prosthesis or false tooth inside the mouth used to replace missing teeth.

Bruxism

Teeth grinding.

Canine

The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are four of them and they are the longest teeth in the human mouth.

Canker sore

This is an ulceration with a yellow base and red border in the mouth. Also known as aphthous ulcers, they can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus. While not contagious, these sores are painful.

Caries

Tooth decay.

Cavity

A hole in the tooth.

Cast

A model of teeth.

Cementation

The process of “gluing” the oral appliance or prosthesis on the associated area.

Chlorhexidine

An anti-microbial agent effective in controlling gum diseases. It is available in many forms such as gels and rinses.

Clasp

A metal arm that extends from a removable partial denture. It helps by holding onto the natural tooth structure and thus provides anchorage for the denture.

Cold sore

Also known as herpes labialis, this sore is an ulcer or blister on the lip. It is a form of herpes simplex and is highly contagious.

Composite

White filling.

Cross-bite

An abnormal bite relationship between the upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth or tooth aligns more toward the cheek or lip than the upper teeth or tooth.

Crown (porcelain/plastic/metal)

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 appearance.

Decay

A soft substance caused by the bacterial demineralization of enamel and dentin. Essentially, it is an infection within a tooth and, therefore, must be treated.

Dentistry

A branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of any disease concerning teeth, the oral cavity, and any associated structures.

Dentition

The position, type, and the 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.

Denturist

A person who specializes in fabricating dentures. A denturist is not responsible for making any type of diagnosis or carrying out any other treatment such as extracting teeth.

Desensitization

A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.

Diagnosis

The process of identifying dental disease.

Diastema

The space between two adjacent teeth.

Distal

This refers to the direction away from the middle of the jaw.

Edentulous

No teeth.

Endodontics

A department of dentistry involving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental pulp. This refers to where the nerves and blood vessels are inside the tooth.

Eruption

The process of a tooth appearing in the mouth.

Excision

The action of cutting something off.

Extruded

When a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket.

Filling

A restoration placed on a tooth to restore its function and appearance.

Flipper

A temporary denture to replace missing teeth during the waiting period for a long-term solution or treatment.

Floss

A thread or thin tape that goes in between teeth to clean them.

Fluoride

A compound of the fluorine element which may be put in different forms such as water, gels, and rinses to strengthen teeth.

Fluoride Treatment

Teeth treatment with fluoride agents like gels or rinses. It helps to prevent tooth decay.

Fracture

A fracture may result when the cusp of a tooth becomes weakened. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root. Damage to the pulp is quite commonplace.

Framework

A metal skeleton of a removable partial denture to support false teeth and plastic attachments.

Gingivitis

As an inflammation of gum, this is the mildest form of gum disease. The earliest sign of this is bleeding gums.

Hemorrhage

Bleeding from a broken blood vessel.

Hemostasis

This is the process of stopping the bleeding or hemorrhaging.

Impaction

A condition where a tooth does not erupt normally or is stuck underneath another tooth or bone.

Implant

A device, which is usually “screw-like”, that is put in the jaw bone to support a false tooth, a denture or a bridge.

Impression

An imprint taken of the mouth by using a jelly-like substance.

Incisal

The cutting edge of front teeth.

Incisor

The four upper and lower front teeth.

Inlay

A restoration, which is usually gold, composite or ceramic, that is fabricated in the lab. It adheres to a tooth like a missing puzzle piece. It helps to restore the normal function and appearance of the tooth.

Interproximal

The space between two adjacent teeth.

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Lingual

The side of the tooth towards the tongue.

Mesial

The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw.

Molar

The last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.

Mouthguard

This is a device that is worn in the mouth. Depending on the design, it prevents injury to the teeth and/or jaw during teeth grinding or sporting events.

Nightguard

A mouthguard that is worn at night.

Occlusal

The biting surface of the back teeth.

Occlusion

The way that the upper and lower teeth close together.

Onlay

A restoration that covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.

Open bite

The situation where the upper teeth are not able to make contact with the opposing lower teeth.

Orthodontics

A special field in dentistry which involves the 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.

Palate

The roof of the mouth.

Panoramic Radiograph

An X-ray film used to obtain a wide view of the upper and lower jaw and their associated structures.

Perforation

An opening on a tooth or other oral structure.

Periapical

This refers to the area surrounding the bottom of the root of a tooth.

Periodontics

This is a specialty of dentistry that involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease.

Permanent Teeth

These are also referred to as adult’s teeth. The first permanent tooth usually erupts at around six years old.

Pin

A piece of “nail-like” metal. It is usually used for the better retention of a filling.

Polish

A process to make the tooth, filling or other denture smooth and glossy.

Pontic

The false tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.

Post

A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal or carbon. One of its main functions is to support a big buildup on a tooth.

Posterior

Located at the back.

Pre-authorization

An approval from the particular authority, usually an insurance company in dentistry, before any action like treatment is performed.

Pre-medication

This is medication that needs to be taken before treatment.

Premolar

The two teeth located in front of the molar.

Prescription

A written statement from a doctor to a pharmacist detailing the type, the amount and direction of the use of medication for a patient. In dentistry, a prescription can also be a written statement for preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician.

Primary Teeth

Baby teeth.

Prophylaxis/prophy

The procedure of teeth polishing. It also refers to the prevention of diseases.

Prosthesis

An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Prosthodontics

A specialty in dentistry involving the diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Pulp

The innermost part of a tooth that contains nerves 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.

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Radiograph

An X-ray picture.

Recall

A regular checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.

Recementation

The process of “gluing” the appliance or prosthesis back on the associated area.

Restoration

An item a dentist uses to restore the normal function of a tooth or an area in the mouth. These items include fillings, crowns, or bridges.

Retainer

A device used for maintaining the position of teeth in the jaw in orthodontic treatment.

Retreatment

The process of repeating the root canal treatment.

Root

The bottom part of the tooth. It anchors the tooth to its supporting units.

Root canal

The canal that runs inside the root of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels.

Root Canal Treatment

A treatment for the root canal inside the tooth.

Root Planing

The action of cleaning the root area of the teeth.

Rubber Dam

A rubber sheet that fits around teeth. It isolates the treatment area from the rest of the oral cavity.

Scaling

The action of cleaning teeth below the gumline.

Sealant

A thin layer of plastic-like material covering the grooves and pits on a tooth to prevent a cavity.

Sedation

The use of medication to calm a patient.

Space Maintainer

An appliance to maintain the space between teeth.

Splint

An appliance or a material to prevent the movement of a mobile part.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The joint that links the two parts of the jaw.

Torus

This is an outgrowth of bone that usually develops on the roof of the mouth or around the premolar area on the lower jaw.

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Veneer

A layer of tooth-colored material that attaches to the front of the tooth. It is usually used to improve the appearance of the tooth and can be porcelain, composite, or ceramic.

Wisdom tooth

The eighth and last tooth from the middle of the jaw.

Xerostomia

A dry mouth with reduced or no saliva.

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