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Glossary

GLOSSARY

-A-

Abscess – infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease

Amalgam – a silver and mercury material used for fillings

Anesthetic – a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient’s localized pain during certain dental procedures

Anterior – the teeth in the front of your mouth

Apex – the very tip of the root of a tooth

Aspirator – a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth

-B-

Bonding – a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage

Bridge – one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth

Bruxism – the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping

-C-

Calculus – the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar

Canine – the pointy teeth just behind the laterals

Caries – another name for cavities or decayed teeth

Cavity – a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay

Central – the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth

Crown – an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal

Cuspid – the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines

-D-

Decalcification – the loss of calcium from the teeth

Dental Implants – an implant is attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth

Dentures – a removable set of artificial teeth

-E-

Enamel – the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line

Endodontist – a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth)

Extraction – the removal of a tooth or teeth

-F-

Filling – a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity

Fluoride – a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay

-G-

Gingivitis – inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth

Gums – the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth

-I-

Impacted Tooth – often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requiring extraction

Incisor – one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth

Inlays – a custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth

-L-

Lateral – these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals

-N-

Night Guard – a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth; also used to treat TMJ

-P-

Pedodontist – also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children’s teeth

Periodontist – a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease

Plaque – a sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay

Posterior Teeth – the teeth in the back of the mouth

Primary Teeth – also known as “baby teeth”

Prosthodontist – a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth or severely damaged teeth

-R-

Root – the portion of the tooth below your gum line

Root Canal – cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed

-S-

Sealant – plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children

Secondary Teeth – the permanent teeth

Sleep Apnea – a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night

-T-

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 Whitening – a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth

-V-

Veneer – a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth