GLOSSARY OF GENERAL AND COSMETIC DENTAL TERMS


A

ABSCESS – infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease
ABUTMENT – a tooth or implant used to support a prosthesis. A crown unit used as part of a fixed bridge
ACID ETCHING – use of an acidic chemical substance to prepare the tooth enamel surface to provide retention for bonding
ADHESIVE – any substance that joins or creates close adherence of two or more surfaces
ALLOGENIC – see graft
ALLOPLASTIC – refers to synthetic material often used for tissue augmentation
ALVEOLAR – referring to the bone to which a tooth is attached
ALVEOLOPLASTY – a surgical procedure used to recontour the supporting bone structures in preparation of a complete or partial denture
AMALGAM – a silver and mercury material used for fillings
ANALGESIA – loss of pain sensations without loss of consciousness
ANESTHETIC – a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient’s localized pain during certain dental procedures
ANTERIOR TEETH – the teeth in the front of your mouth
ANTISEPTIC – an agent that can be applied to living tissues to destroy germs
APEX – the very tip of the root of a tooth
APICOECTOMY – the amputation of the apex of a tooth
ARCH, DENTAL – the curved composite structure of the natural dentition and the residual ridge, or the remains thereof after the loss of some or all of the natural teeth
ASPIRATOR – a suction devise your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth

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B

BICUSPID – a two-cuspid tooth found between the molar and the cuspid also known as an eye tooth or canine tooth
BIOPSY – a process of removing tissue to determine the existence of pathology
BITEWING X-RAYS – interproximal view radiograph of the coronal portion of the tooth
BLEACHING (TOOTH WHITENING) – process of brightening or whitening stained, discolored, or dull teeth with an in-office power bleaching method, or dentist-supervised, at-home whitening systems
BLEACHING AGENT – a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth
BONDING (COMPOSITE RESIN BONDING) – process by which enamel-like resin is bonded to a tooth’s surface, sculpted to an ideal shape, hardened, and polished
BONE LOSS – the breakdown and loss of the bone that supports the teeth, usually caused by infection or long-term occlusal (chewing areas of the teeth) stress
BRIDGE – fixed or removable dental appliance attached to your adjacent teeth, which replaces lost teeth
BRUXISM – the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping
BUCCAL – pertaining to or around the cheek

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C

CALCULUS – the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar
CANAL – a relatively narrow tubular passage or channel; space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue; the passage which transmits vessels and nerves through the jaw to branches that distributes them to the teeth
CANINE – the pointy teeth just behind the laterals
CANTILEVER EXTENSION – part of a fixed prosthesis that is supported at one end only
CAP – another term for crown; usually referring to a crown for a front tooth
CARIES – another name for cavities or decayed teeth
CAST – see diagnostic cast or study model
CAVITY – a cavity is a destruction of tooth enamel. Cavities occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on the Cement
CEMENT – a special type of glue used to hold a crown in place. It also acts as an insulator to protect the tooth’s nerve
CEMENT BASE – material used under a filling to replace lost tooth structure
CEMENTUM – hard connective tissue covering the tooth root
CENTRA – the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth
CEPHALOMETRIC RADIOGRAPH – a radiographic head film utilized in the scientific study of the measurements of the head with relation to specific reference points
CHAIRSIDE BLEACHING – chairside bleaching is method of whitening teeth done in the dental office and usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes. An oxidizing agent is “painted” onto the teeth. A special light may be used at five-minute intervals to help activate the agent. Teeth may become sensitive following bleach treatments
CLEFT PALATE – congenital deformity resulting in lack of fusion of the soft and/or hard palate, either partial or complete
CLENCHING – the clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together in centric occlusion, frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort
CLINICAL CROWN – see crown
CLINICAL CROWN – that portion of a tooth not covered by supporting tissues
CLOSED REDUCTION – the repositioning of a fractured bone without open surgery
COMPLEX REHABILITATION – the extensive dental restoration involving 6 or more units of crown and/or bridge in the same treatment plan. Using full crowns and/or fixed bridges which are cemented in place, the your dentist will rebuild natural teeth, fill in
COMPOSITE – a dental restorative material made up of disparate or separate parts (e.g. resin and quartz particles)
COMPOSITE RESIN – tooth-colored filling material made of resin reinforced with silica or porcelain particles
COMPOUND FRACTURE – break in bone which is exposed to external contamination
COMPREHENSIVE ORAL EVALUATION – see evaluation
CONSULTATION – a diagnostic service provided by a dentist other than the treating dentist
CONVENTIONAL DENTURES – conventional dentures are made and inserted after the remaining teeth are removed and the tissues have healed, which may take several months
COPING – a thin covering of the coronal portion of the tooth usually without anatomic
conformity (It can be used as a definitive restoration or as part of a transfer procedure)
CORONAL – refers to the crown of a tooth
COSMETIC ENAMEL CONTOURING – reshaping the natural teeth to make them straighter or more youthful in appearance
COSMETIC DENTISTRY – field of dentistry dedicated to the art and science of enhancing a person’s smile, overall appearance, and oral health
CROWN (Abutment) – artificial crown serving for the retention or support of a dental prosthesis
CROWN (Artificial) – restoration covering or replacing the major part, or the whole of the clinical crown of a tooth
CROWN – a cap, cover, or restoration made of porcelain or metal to replace the missing portion of a tooth (This procedure can also correct general bite with individual teeth or replace missing teeth)
CROWN LENGTHENING – a surgical procedure exposing more tooth for restorative purposes by apically positioning the gingival margin and/or removing supporting bone
CURETTAGE – scraping or cleaning the walls of a cavity or gingival pocket
CUSP – the protruding portion(s) of a tooth’s chewing surface
CUSPID – the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines
CYST (Odontogenic) – cyst derived from the epithelium of odontogenic tissue (developmental, primordial)
CYST (Periapical) – cyst at the apex of a tooth with a non-vital pulp
CYST – pathological cavity, usually lined with epithelium, containing fluid or soft matter

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D

DDS – Doctor of Dental Surgery or DMD, Doctor of Dental Medicine. Degrees given to dental school graduates. Both degrees are the same particular dental schools identify at their discretion their graduates as
 DMD or DDS
DEBRIDEMENT – removal of subgingival and/or supragingival plaque and calculus which obstructs the ability to perform an evaluation; removal of contused and devitalized tissue; from a wound surface
DECALCIFICATION – the loss of calcium from the teeth
DECAY – the lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure
DECIDUOUS – to fall off or shed; a name used for the primary teeth
DECIDUOUS TEETH – also called “baby teeth”
DENTAL FLOSS – a thin, nylon string, waxed or unwaxed, that is inserted between the teeth to remove food and plaque
DENTAL HYGIENIST – a dental professional specializing in cleaning the teeth by removing plaque, calculus, and diseased gum tissue. He/She acts as the patient’s guide in establishing a proper oral hygiene program
DENTAL IMPANTS – an implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth
DENTAL PROPHYLAXIS – scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains
DENTIN – that part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum
DENTITION (Deciduous) – refers to the deciduous or primary teeth in the dental arch
DENTITION (Permanent) – refers to the permanent teeth in the dental arch
DENTITION – the teeth in the dental arch
DENTURE – an artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues
DENTURE BASE – that part of a denture that makes contact with soft tissue and retains the artificial teeth
DETAILED AND EXTENSIVE – see evaluation
DIAGNOSTIC CAST – plaster or stone model of teeth and adjoining tissues; also referred to as study model
DIASTEMA – a space, such as one between two adjacent teeth in the same dental arch
DIRECT PULP CAP – procedure in which the exposed pulp is covered with a dressing or cement with the aim of maintaining pulp vitality
DISCECTOMY – excision of the intra-articular disc of a joint
DISPLACED TOOTH – a partial evulsion of a tooth-may be mesial, distal, facial, lingual or incisal
DISTAL – toward the back of the dental arch (or away from the midline)
DRY SOCKET – localized inflammation of the tooth socket following extraction due to infection or loss of blood clot; osteitis

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ENAMEL – the hard, calcified (mineralized) portion of the tooth which covers the crown. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body
ENDODONTICS – the dental specialty that deals with injuries to or diseases of the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth
ENDODONTIST – a dental specialist who limits his/her practice to treating disease and injuries of the pulp and associated perpendicular conditions
EQUILIBRATION – reshaping of the occlusal surfaces of teeth to create harmonious contact relationships between the upper and lower teeth; also known as occlusal adjustment
EVALUATION (Comprehensive oral) – typically used by a general dentist and/or a specialist when evaluating a patient comprehensively. It is a thorough evaluation and recording of the extraoral and intraoral hard and soft tissues.
EVALUATION (Detailed and extensive oral) – problem – focused, by report – a detailed and extensive problem-focused evaluation entails extensive diagnostic and cognitive modalities based on the findings of a comprehensive oral evaluation.
EVALUATION (Limited oral) – problem focused – an evaluation or re-evaluation limited to a specific oral health problem. This may require interpretation of information acquired through additional diagnostic procedures.
EVALUATION – periodic oral evaluation – an evaluation performed on a patient of record to determine any changes in the patient’s dental and medical health status since a previous comprehensive or periodic evaluation.
EVULSION – complete separation of the tooth from its socket due to trauma (avulsion)
EXCISION – surgical removal of bone or tissue
EXOSTOSIS – overgrowth of bone (see torus)
EXTRACORONAL – outside the crown of a tooth
EXTRACTION – the removal of a tooth
EXTRAORAL – outside the oral cavity
EXUDATE – a material usually resulting from inflammation or necrosis that contains fluid, cells, and/or other debris

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F

FACIAL – the surface of a tooth directed toward the face (including the buccal and labial surfaces) and opposite the lingual surface
FILLING – a lay term used for the restoring of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic, or cement
FIXED BRIDGE – fixed dental appliance (used to replace a missing tooth/teeth) cemented or bonded to adjacent teeth which have been prepared to provide anchor supports
FLOSS – see dental floss
FLUORIDE – a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay
FORAMEN – natural opening into or through bone
FRACTURE – the breaking of a part, especially of a bony structure; breaking of a tooth
FRENECTOMY – the removal of a frenum
FRENUM – muscle fibers covered by a mucous membrane that attaches the cheek, lips and or tongue to associated dental mucosa
FURCATION – the anatomic area of a multirooted tooth where the roots diverge

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GINGIVA – the soft tissue that covers the jawbone. Also referred to as the gums
GINGIVECTOMY – the excision or removal of gingiva
GINGIVITIS – gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, in which the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, gum disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing
GINGIVOPLASTY – surgical procedure to reshape gingiva to create a normal, functional form
GLASS IONOMER – glass polyalkenoate cement: material in which the solid powdered phase is a fluoride-containing aluminosilicate glass powder. The material is translucent and can be used as a restoration, a liner and a luting agent
GRAFT (Allogenic) – having cell types that are antigenetically distinct from patient’s cell type (usually freeze dried and/or irradiated)
GRAFT (Autogenous) – taken from one part of a patient’s body and transferred to another
GRAFT (Homologous) – a graft transplanted from a donor of the same species
GRAFT – a piece of tissue or alloplastic material placed in contact with tissue to repair a defect or supplement a deficiency
GUM DISEASE – gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. About three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some form of gum disease
GUMS – the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth

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HALITOSIS – halitosis is the scientific term for bad breath. Bad breath can be caused by many things, including odor-causing foods, tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, continued mouth dryness, use of tobacco products, sinus or respiratory infections
HEMISECTION – surgical separation of a multirooted tooth so that one root and/or the overlaying portion of the crown can be surgically removed
HETEROLOGOUS – made up of tissue not normal to the part
HIGH LIPLINE – where the widest smile meets the gum tissue above the teeth
HIGH NOBLE METAL – see metals, classification of
HISTOPATHOLOGY – the study of composition and function of tissues under pathological conditions
HOMOLOGOUS – see graft

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IMAGING, DIAGNOSTIC – this would include, but is not limited to, CAT scans, MRIs, photographs, radiographs, etc.
IMMEDIATE DENTURE – are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of the teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly
IMPACTED TOOTH – an unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely
IMPLANT – material inserted or grafted into tissue; dental implant – device specially designed to be placed surgically within or on the mandibular or maxillary bone as a means of providing for dental replacement; endosteal (endosseous); eposteal (subperiosteal); transosteal (transosseous)
IMPLANTATION, TOOTH – placement of an artificial or natural tooth into an alveolus
INCISAL ANGLE – one of the angles formed by the junction of the incisal and the mesial or distal surfaces of an anterior tooth; called the mesial and distal incisal angle respectfully
INCISOR – central or lateral front teeth with cutting edges (4 upper and 4 lower)
INDIRECT PULP CAP – a procedure in which the nearly exposed pulp is covered with a protective dressing to protect the pulp from additional injury and to promote healing and repair via formation of secondary dentin
INLAY – porcelain, resin, or gold filling (made to fit a prepared cavity) cemented or bonded in place to help restore a decayed or broken tooth
INSTANT ORTHODONTICS – Alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns
INTENTIONAL REIMPLANTATION – the intentional removal, radicular repair and replacement of a tooth into its alveolus
INTERDENTAL CLEANERS – an alternative to dental floss. These aids include special brushes, picks or sticks. If you use interdental cleaners, ask your dentist how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums
INTERPROXIMAL – between the adjoining surfaces of adjacent teeth
INTRACORONAL – referring to ‘within’ the crown of a tooth
INTRAORAL – inside the mouth
INTRAVENOUS CONSCIOUS SEDATION – see anesthesia

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J

JAW – a common name for either the maxilla or the mandible

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L

LABIAL – pertaining to or around the lip
LAMINATE VENEER – thin porcelain resin shell bonded to enamel of front teeth
LAMINATING – applying a thin porcelain or composite resin veneer to a tooth
LATERAL INCISORS – these are the teeth adjacent to the central incisors (front teeth)
LESION – an injury or wound; area of diseased tissue
LIMITED ORAL EVALUATION – see evaluation
LINE ANGLE – an angle formed by the junction of two planes; used to designate the junction of two surfaces of a tooth, or of two walls of a tooth cavity preparation
LINGUAL – pertaining to or around the tongue
LOCAL ANESTHESIA – the injection given in the mouth to numb the areas where a tooth or area needs a dental procedure. Often referred to as novocaine
LOW LIP LINE – where the widest smile barely reveals the bottom edges of the upper front teeth

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M

MAINTENANCE, PERIODONTAL – therapy for preserving the state of health of the periodontium
MALAR – pertaining to the cheek bone; see zygomatic bone
MALIGNANT – having the properties of dysplasia, invasion, and metastasis
MALOCCLUSION – a bad bite caused by incorrect positions of the upper or lower teeth
MANDIBLE – the lower jaw
MARYLAND BRIDGE – trade name that has become synonymous with any resin bonded fixed partial denture (bridge)
MASTICATION – the act of chewing
MAXILLA – the upper jaw
MESIAL – toward the midline of the dental arch
METALS, CLASSIFICATION OF – the noble metal classification system has been adopted as a more precise method of reporting various alloys used in dentistry. The alloys are defined on the basis of the percentage of noble metal content: high noble – Gold (Au)
MIDLINE – an imaginary vertical line that divides the face into equal parts
MOLAR – teeth posterior to the premolars (bicuspids) on either side of the jaw; grinding teeth, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces
MOULAGE – a cast mold reproduction of the face which may be wax or plaster
MUCOUS MEMBRANE – lining of the oral cavity as well as other canals and cavities of the body; also called ‘mucosa’

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N

NIGHT GUARD – a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ
NITROUS OXIDE – a controlled mixture of nitrogen and oxygen gases (N2O) that is inhaled by the patient in order to decrease sensitivity to pain. Also referred to as laughing gas
NOVOCAINE – a generic name for the many kinds of anesthetics used in the dental injection, such as Xylocaine, Lidocaine, or Novocaine. See local anesthetic

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O

OCCLUSAL RADIOGRAPH – an intraoral radiograph made with the film being held between the occluded teeth
OCCLUSAL SURFACE – the chewing surface of the back teeth
OCCLISAL X-RAY – an intraoral x-ray taken with the film held between the teeth in biting position
OCCLUSION – any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth
ODONTOGENIC CYST – see cyst
ONLAY – a restoration made outside the oral cavity that replaces a cusp or cusps of the tooth, which is then luted to the tooth; metallic onlays have intracoronal designs while resin onlays may not have intracoronal designs
OPEN REDUCTION – providing access to a fracture for purposes of anatomic approximation by cutting tissue or surrounding bone
OPERCULECTOMY – removal of the operculum
OPERCULUM – the flap of tissue over an unerupted or partially erupted tooth
ORAL – pertaining to the mouth
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON – a dental specialist whose practice is limited to the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, deformities, defects and esthetic aspects of the oral and maxillofacial regions
ORAL IRRIGATING DEVICES – oral irrigating devices use a stream of water to remove food particles from around the teeth. They are meant to be used as an aid, not to replace regular brushing or cleaning between the teeth with floss or interdental cleaners.
ORAL PATHOLOGY – the specialty of dentistry and pathology concerned with recognition, diagnosis, investigation and management of diseases of the oral cavity, jaws, and adjacent structures
ORAL SURGERY – the removal of teeth and the repair and treatment of other oral problems, such as tumors and fractures
ORTHODONTIST – a dental specialist whose practice is limited to the interception and treatment of malocclusion of the teeth and their surrounding structures
ORTHOGNATHIC – functional relationship of maxilla and mandible
OSTEOPLASTY – surgical procedure that modifies the configuration of bone
OSTEOTOMY – surgical cutting of bone
OVERBITE – a condition in which the upper teeth excessively overlap the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. This condition can be corrected with orthodontics
OVERDENTURE – fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth that have been prepared by the dentist

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P

PROTHESIS (Dental) – any device or appliance replacing one or more missing teeth and/or, if required, associated structures (This is a broad term which includes abutment crowns and abutment inlays/ onlays, bridges, dentures, obturators, gingival prostheses) Definitive prosthesis – a prosthesis to be used over an extended period of time
PALATE – the hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth that separates the oral and nasal cavities
PALLIATIVE – action that relieves pain but is not curative
PANORAMIC RADIOGRAPH – an extraoral radiograph on which the maxilla and mandible are depicted on a single film
PANOREX – an extraoral full-mouth X-ray that records the teeth and the upper and lower jaws on one film
PARTIAL DENTURE (BRIDGE) – fixed or removable dental appliance that replaces some of the natural teeth
PATIENT – an individual who has established a professional relationship with a dentist for the delivery of dental health care (For matters relating to communication of information and consent this term includes the patient’s parent, caretaker, guardian, or other individual as appropriate under state law and the circumstances of the case)
PEDIATRIC DENTIST – a dental specialist whose practice is limited to treatment of children from birth through adolescence; formerly known as a pedodontist
PEDODONTIST – see pediatric dentist
PERIAPICAL – the area surrounding the end of the tooth root
PERIAPICAL ABSCESS – see abscess
PERIAPICAL CYST – see cyst
PERIAPICAL RADIOGRAPH – a radiograph made by the intraoral placement of film for disclosing the apices of the teeth
PERICORONAL – around the crown of a tooth
PERICORONITIS – An inflammation of the gum tissue around the crown of a tooth, usually the third molar
PERIODIC ORAL EVALUATION – see evaluation
PERIODONTAL – pertaining to the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth
PERIODONTAL ABSCESS – see abscess
PERIODONTAL DISEASE – inflammatory process of the gingival tissues and/or periodontal membrane of the teeth, resulting in an abnormally deep gingival sulcus, possibly producing periodontal pockets and loss of supporting alveolar bone
PERIODONTAL POCKET – pathologically-deepened gingival sulcus; a feature of periodontal disease
PERIODONTAL SURGERY – a surgical procedure involving the gums and jawbone
PERIODONTIST – a dental specialist whose practice is limited to the treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth
PERIODONTITIS – inflammation and loss of the connective tissue of the supporting or surrounding structure of teeth with loss of attachment
PERIRADICULAR – surrounding a portion of the root of the tooth
PERMANENT TEETH – the thirty-two adult teeth that replace the baby, or primary teeth. Also known as secondary teeth
PIT – a recessed area found on the surface of a tooth, usually where the grooves of the tooth meet
PLAQUE – a soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives
PONTIC – the term used for the artificial tooth on a fixed partial denture (bridge)
PORCELAIN – ceramic, tooth-colored material that fuses at high temperatures to form a hard, enamel-like substance
PORCELAIN VENEERS – ultra-thin, specially made porcelain shells that are bonded to teeth (Veneers are especially useful for repairing chipped, cracked, or worn teeth)
POST – an elongated metallic projection fitted and cemented within the prepared root canal, serving to strengthen and retain restorative material and/or a crown restoration
POSTERIOR – refers to teeth and tissues towards the back of the mouth (distal to the canines) – maxillary and mandibular premolars and molars
POSTERIOR-BONDED COMPOSITE RESIN – tooth-colored filling for back teeth
PRECISION ATTACHMENT – interlocking device, one component of which is fixed to an abutment or abutments and the other is integrated into a fixed or removable prosthesis in order to stabilize and/or retain it
PREMEDICATION – the use of medications prior to dental procedures
PREMOLAR – see bicuspid
PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY – education and treatment devoted to and concerned with preventing the development of dental disease
PRIMARY DENTITION – the first set of teeth; see deciduous
PRIMARY TEETH – also known as “baby teeth” or deciduous teeth
PROPHYLAXIS – scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus and stains
PROSTHESIS (Interim) – a provisional prosthesis designed for use over a limited period of time, after which it is to be replaced by a more definitive restoration
PROSTHESIS (Removable) – dental prosthesis designed to be removed and reinserted by the patient
PROSTHESIS – artificial replacement of any part of the body
PROSTHODONTIST – a dental specialist whose practice is limited to the restoration of the natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth with artificial substitutes
PROTHESIS (Fixed) – non-removable tooth-borne dental prosthesis which is solidly attached to abutment teeth or roots or implants
PROVISIONAL – formed or preformed for temporary purposes or used over a limited period; a temporary or interim solution; usually refers to a prosthesis or individual tooth restoration
PULP – the blood vessels and nerve tissue that occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth
PULP CAVITY – the space within a tooth which contains the pulp
PULPECTOMY – complete removal of pulp tissue from the root canal space
PULPITIS – inflammation of the dental pulp
PULPOTOMY – surgical removal of a portion of the pulp with the aim of maintaining the vitality of the remaining portion by means of an adequate dressing; pulp amputation

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QUADRANT – one of the four equal sections into which the dental arches can be divided; begins at the midline of the arch and extends distally to the last tooth

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R

RADICULAR – pertaining to the root
RADIOGRAPH – x-ray
REBASE – process of refitting a denture by replacing the base material
RECEDED GUMS – a condition characterized by the abnormal loss of gum tissue due to infection or bone loss
REFERAL – when a dental patient from one office is sent to another dentist, usually a specialist, for treatment or consultation
REGIONAL BLOCK ANESTHESIA – see anesthesia
REIMPLANTATION, TOOTH – the return of a tooth to its alveolus
RELINE – process of resurfacing the tissue side of a denture with new base material
REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURE – a removable partial denture fills in the space created by missing teeth and fills out your smile
REPLANTATION – the return of a tooth to its socket
RESIN-BONDED BRIDGE – thin metal or glass fiber-reinforced bridge requiring slight or no reduction of anchor teeth
RESPORPTION – the breakdown and assimilation of the bone that supports the tooth, i.e., bone loss
RESTORATION – any material or devise used to replace lost tooth structure (filling, crown) or to replace a lost tooth or teeth (bridge, dentures, complete or partial)
RETAINER (Prosthodontic) – a part of a fixed partial denture that attaches a pontic to the abutment tooth
RETAINER (Orthodontic retainer) – appliance to stabilize teeth following orthodontic treatment
RETROGRADE FILLING – a method of sealing the root canal by preparing and filling it from the root apex
ROOT – the anatomic portion of the tooth that is covered by cementum and is located in the alveolus (socket) where it is attached by the periodontal apparatus; radicular portion of tooth
ROOT CANAL – cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed
ROOT CANAL THERAPY – is used to find the cause and treat problems of the tooth’s soft core, the dental pulp. It is a way to save teeth, and may involve from one to three visits in which the diseased pulp is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed
ROOT PLANING – a procedure designed to remove microbial flora, bacterial toxins, calculus, and diseased cementum or dentin on the root surfaces and in the pocket
RUBBER DAM – thin rubber sheet applied to teeth to control moisture during dental procedures

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S

SCALING – removal of plaque, calculus, and stain from teeth
SEALANT – plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children
SECONDARY TEETH – the permanent teeth
SEXTANT – one of the six relatively equal sections into which a dental arch can be divided, for example: tooth numbers 1-5; 6-11; 12-16; 17-21; 22-27; 28-32. Sometimes used for recording periodontal charting
SIALODOCHOPLASTY – surgical procedure for the repair of a defect and/or restoration of a portion of a salivary gland duct
SIALOGRAPHY – inspection of the salivary ducts and glands by radiograph after the injection of a radiopaque medium
SIALOLITHOTOMY – surgical procedure by which a stone within a salivary gland or its duct is removed, either intraorally or extraorally
SIX-YEAR MOLAR – commonly known as “the first molar”
SLEEP APNEA – a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night
SOCKET – the hole in the jawbone into which the tooth fits
SPACE MAINTAINER – a dental appliance that fills the space of a lost tooth or teeth and prevents the other teeth from moving into the space. Used especially in orthodontic and pediatric treatment
SPLINT – a device used to support, protect, or immobilize oral structures that have been loosened, replanted, fractured or traumatized. Also refers to devices used in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders
STAINLESS STELL CROWN – a pre-made metal crown, shaped like a tooth, that is used to temporarily cover a seriously decayed or broken down tooth. Used most often on children’s teeth
STOMATITIS – inflammation of the membranes of the mouth
STRESS BREAKER – that part of a tooth-borne and/or tissue-borne prosthesis designed to relieve the abutment teeth and their supporting tissues from harmful stresses
STUDY MODEL – plaster or stone model of teeth and adjoining tissues; also referred to as diagnostic cast
SUBGINGIVAL SCALING – the removal of calculus and plaque found on the tooth below the gum line
SUPRA GINGIVAL SCALING – the removal of calculus and plaque found on the tooth above the gum line
SUTURE – stitch used to repair incision or wound
SYSTEMIC – relating to the whole body

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TARTAR – see calculus
TEMPORARY REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURE – an interim prosthesis designed for use over limited period of time
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) – the connecting hinge mechanism between the mandible (lower jaw) and base of the skull (temporal bone)
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION – abnormal functioning of temporomandibular joint; also refers to symptoms arising in other areas secondary to the dysfunction
THIRD MOLAR – the last of the three molar teeth, also called wisdom teeth. There are four third molars, two in the lower jaw and two in the upper jaw, one on each side. Some people are born without third molars
TISSUE CONDITIONING – material intended to be placed in contact with tissues, for a limited period, with the aim of assisting their return to healthy condition
TMJ SYNDROME – a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw. Often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes
TOOTH DECAY – the destruction of tooth enamel. Cavities occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, soft drinks, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in cavities
TOOTH WHITENING – a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth
TORUS – a bony elevation or protuberance of bone; see exostosis
TRANSITIONAL – a passage or change from a position, state, phase or concept to another
TRANSPLANTATION, TOOTH – transfer of a tooth from one socket to another, either in the same or a different person
TRANSSEPTAL – through or across a septum
TREATMENT PLAN – a list of the work the dentist proposes to perform on a dental patient based on the results of the dentist’s X rays, examination, and diagnosis. Often more than one treatment plan is presented
TRISMUS – restricted ability to open the mouth, usually due to inflammation or fibrosis of the muscles of mastication
TWELVE-YEAR MOLAR – commonly known as “the second molar”

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UNERUPTED – tooth/teeth that have not penetrated into the oral cavity
UNILATERAL – one-sided; pertaining to or affecting but one side

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VENEER – a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth
VESTIBULOPLASTY – any of a series of surgical procedures designed to increase relative alveolar ridge height

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W

WALKING BLEACH – method used to lighten a tooth that has darkened after root canal treatment
WAX PATTERN – a wax form that is the positive likeness of an object to be fabricated
WHITENING – process of brightening or whitening stained, discolored, or dull teeth with in-office power bleaching method or dentist-supervised, at-home whitening systems
WISDOM TEETH – see third molar

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X

X-RAY – radiograph
XEROSTOMIA – decreased salivary secretion that produces a dry and sometimes burning sensation of the oral mucosa and/or cervical caries

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Z

ZYGOMATIC BONE – quadrangular bone on either side of face that forms the cheek prominence (see malar)

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