Have you ever been to a dentist and felt like he was speaking in Greek? There are so many dental terms we can write a dictionary, but here are some basic terms that may help you understand your dentist better.
Abscess – a swelling caused by an infection producing pus.
Abutment – a tooth or implant used to support an artificial tooth restoration such as a crown
Amalgam – a combination of metals, usually including silver, nickel and mercury used to filled cavities in teeth
Anterior – term referring to the front area of the mouth
Bonding – a cosmetic procedure in which teeth are reshaped with composite resin in order to close gaps and improve appearance
Braces – device used to straighten teeth
Bridge – a fixed (non-removable) replacement for one or more missing teeth which is supported by remaining teeth, or implants.
Bruxism – the habit of grinding or clenching teeth, done unconsciously.
Calculus – hardened deposit of mineral salts formed around the teeth, also known as tartar
Caries – tooth decay
Composite resin – a tooth-colored filling material
Crown – a fixed prosthesis used to restore a badly broken down tooth to its normal shape and size
Deciduous teeth – first set of teeth that is later replaced by permanent teeth, also known as baby teeth or milk teeth
Dentin – an internal layer of the tooth structure, surrounding the pulp and covered by enamel
Denture – a partial or full set of artificial removable teeth
Enamel – the hard white outer covering of the tooth
Gingivitis – a condition in which the gums are red, swollen and bleeds easily
Halitosis – bad breath
Impacted tooth – a tooth is which is unable to grow into a normal position because it is stuck or jammed between teeth, against teeth, or bone.
Implant – a fixture inserted into the bone in order to provide support for a crown, bridge or denture
Mandible – the lower jawbone
Maxilla – the upper jawbone
Plaque – a thin film on the surface of teeth made up of material in saliva containing bacteria
Pontic – an artifical tooth, the part of a bridge that replaces a lost tooth.
Post – a metal or carbon fiber rod inserted in a tooth that has had a root canal therapy in order to support or retain a crown
Posterior – term refering to the back part of the mouth
Pulp – soft, spongy tissue in the center of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves
Pulpectomy – the complete removal of the tooth’s pulp
Root canal – space in the root of a tooth that contains pulp tissue
Root canal therapy – a procedure in which the root canal is cleaned of infected material, shaped and filled
Sealants – a material placed in the deep pits and grooves of teeth to help prevent decay
TMJ – Tempero-Mandibular-Joint: the joint connecting our upper and lower jaws
Xerostomia – Dry mouth