Glossary

-A-
Abscess 
-  Infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.
ADA Seal of Acceptance  -  The American Dental Association's designation that is awarded to  products that have met highest levels of safety and effectiveness and whose packaging and advertising claims are scientifically supported.  
Amalgam  -  A restorative material made from a metal alloy of silver and mercury.                                           
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.
Aspirator  -  A suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth.


-B-
Bleaching Agent 
-  A gel used to whiten and brighten teeth.
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 Incisor -  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.
Deciduous Teeth  -  Also called "baby teeth" or primary teeth.
Dental Implants  -  An implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth.
Denture  -  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 surgical removal of a tooth or teeth.


-F-
Filling  -  A material 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.
Incisal  -  Related to incisors (see below).
Incisor  -  One of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth.
Inlay  -  A custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth.
Instant Orthodontics  -  Alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns.


-L-
Lateral Incisor
-  These are the teeth adjacent to the central incisors.


-N-
Night Guard 
-  A plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding or clenching of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) disorders.
NSAID  -  A designation representing "Non-steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs" that are used as analgesics.  Examples include ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, and naproxen (Aleve).  

-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" or deciduous 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  -  The removal, cleaning and filling of the inside vital (living) portion of a tooth, usually made necessary due to infection or decay.


-S-
Sealant 
-  Plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children.
Secondary (or Succedaneous) Teeth  -  The permanent teeth.
Six-Year Molar  -  Commonly known as "the first molar."
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-
Tartar 
-  See Calculus.
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.
Twelve-Year Molar  -  Commonly known as "the second molar."


-U-
Unerupted 
-  Not yet appearing in the mouth; still covered by gums. 
 

-V-
Veneer
  -  A plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth.
 
 
-W-
Wisdom Teeth  -  The third and last molars to erupt, usually between the ages of 18 and 25.  

-X-
Xerostomia
  -  A condition of decreased salivary flow that results in a dry mouth and sometimes produces a burning sensation of the oral mucosa.  The reduction of saliva can increase the likelihood of caries.
X-ray  -  See Radiograph.
 
 
-Y-
 
 
-Z-
Zygomatic Bone  -  Quadrandular bone that forms the cheek prominence.