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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Gingivitis - Inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth.
Gums - The firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth.


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.


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


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).


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.


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.


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.


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."


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


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


Wisdom Teeth - The third and last molars to erupt, usually between the ages of 18 and 25.


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.



Zygomatic Bone - Quadrandular bone that forms the cheek prominence.