Meramec Family Dentistry

DENTAL DICTIONARY ​

Abscess

An abscess often forms due to infection and creates a collection of pus.

Abutment

An abutment is the structure that anchors a bridge, denture, or crown.

Amalgam

Amalgam is a mixture of metals that creates the silver filling material.

Anesthetic

An anesthetic causes the temporary loss of feeling or sensation.

Anterior

Anterior refers to the front position.

Apex

Apex is the end of the tooth root.

Asepsis

Asepsis means there is no presence of bacteria or microorganisms.

Attrition

Attrition refers to wear on the teeth due to chewing or other activities.

Avulsion

An avulsion is an injury which involves a tooth that has been completely knocked out.

Bitewing

Bitewing dental x-rays are taken with the teeth biting down together. This x-ray helps detect cavities between the teeth and checks the height of bone support.

Bleaching

Bleaching refers to teeth whitening treatments.

Bridge

A bridge is a fixed dental device which replaces a single or multiple missing teeth.

Bruxism

Bruxism refers to teeth grinding.

Canine

The canine tooth is the third from the middle. There are four and they are the longest teeth in humans.

Canker sore

Canker sores are ulcers in the mouth that look yellow with a red border. They may be caused by trauma or the herpes simplex virus.

Caries

Caries are another term for tooth decay.

Cavity

A cavity is a hole in the mouth due to tooth decay.

Cast

A cast is the model or mold that is created of the teeth.

Cementation

Cementation refers to the process of adhering an appliance, prosthesis, or restoration into place.

Chlorhexidine

Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial agent. It is available as a gel or rinse and effectively helps control gum disease.

Clasp

A clasp is the metal arm or piece that extends from a removable partial denture. The clasp attaches to the natural tooth and works to anchor the denture.

Cold sore

A cold sore is an ulcer or blister on the lip that forms due to the herpes simplex virus.

Composite

Composite is the material used for white dental fillings.

Cross-bite

A crossbite occurs when the upper and lower jaw do not meet naturally. The lower teeth line up more toward the cheek or lip rather than with the upper teeth.

Crown

A crown acts like a cap that partially or completely covers the tooth above the gum line. The crown restores a tooth’s function and appearance.

Decay

Tooth decay occurs through demineralization of the tooth enamel and dentin. It can also be an infection within the tooth. Tooth decay requires treatment.

Dentistry

Dentistry involves diagnosing, preventing, and treating oral diseases of the mouth, teeth, and associated structures.

Dentition

Dentition is the number, type, and position of the teeth in the jaws.

Denture

Dentures are artificial appliances that replace missing teeth. There are a variety of types of dentures (immediate/implant-retained/complete/partial/overdenture/temporary) depending on a patient’s needs and preferences.

Denturist

A denturist diagnoses, prevents, and treats oral diseases.

Desensitization

Desensitization is done to reduce teeth sensitivity.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is the process of identifying dental disease.

Diastema

A diastema refers to the space between teeth.

Distal

Distal indicates the direction in the mouth that points away from the middle of the jaw.

Edentulous

Edentulous means no teeth.

Endodontics

Endodontics is the division of dentistry that involves diagnosing, preventing, and treating the dental pulp which is where the nerves and blood vessels are located within the tooth.

Eruption

Eruption occurs when the tooth starts to appear in the mouth.

Excision

Excision involves cutting or excising something.

Extruded

Extruded is when a tooth has partially been pushed out of its socket.

Filling

A filling is a type of dental restoration that is placed on the tooth to strengthen it restoring its function and appearance.

Flipper

A flipper is a temporary denture that replaces missing teeth while the patient waits for more permanent or long-term treatment.

Floss

Dental floss is the string or thread that cleans and removes particles from between the teeth.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a compound that can come as a water, gel, or rinse to strengthen the teeth.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatment involves using the fluoride agent to prevent tooth decay.

Fracture

A fracture occurs when a tooth has been weakened. The crack may extend into the root damaging the pulp.

Framework

The framework refers to the metal frame or skeleton of a removable partial denture that supports the false teeth and attachments.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild phase of gum disease that often involves inflamed or bleeding gums.

Hemorrhage

Hemorrhage is bleeding.

Hemostasis

Hemostasis involves stopping bleeding or hemorrhaging.

Impaction

Impaction occurs when a tooth is not able to erupt normally or when it is stuck under a tooth or bone.

Implant

A dental implant is a device placed in the jaw to replace a missing tooth and support a false tooth, a denture, or a bridge.

Impression

Impressions are molds or models taken with a jelly or putty-like substance.

Incisal

Incisal refers to the cutting area along the front teeth.

Incisor

Incisors are the four upper and lower front teeth.

Inlay

Inlays are dental restorations often made of gold, composite or ceramics that restore the tooth’s natural functions.

Interproximal

Interproximal refers to the space between two adjacent teeth.

Lingual

Lingual is the side of the tooth nearest the tongue.

Mesial

Mesial is the tooth side that points toward the middle of the jaw.

Molar

Molars are your last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.

Mouthguard

A mouthguard is worn to prevent injury to the teeth/jaw during sports or from teeth grinding.

Night guard

A night guard is simply a mouthguard worn at night.

Occlusal

Occlusal refers to the biting surface on the back teeth.

Occlusion

An occlusion refers to how the upper and lower teeth close or meet together.

Onlay

An onlay covers the tooth’s biting surface.

Open bite

An open bite occurs when the upper teeth do not contact the lower teeth when biting down.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics involves diagnosing, preventing, and treating abnormalities or irregularities of the bite and/or face.

Over bite

An overbite occurs when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth when biting down.

Overhang

Overhang is the filling material that hangs or droops beyond the border of the cavity.

Palate

The palate refers to the top of the oral cavity.

Panoramic Radiograph

A panoramic radiograph is an x-ray showing the wide view of the upper and lower jaws.

Perforation

A perforation is an opening in a tooth or other oral structure.

Periapical

Periapical is the surrounding of the tooth root.

Periodontics

Periodontics is the dental speciality that relates to gum or periodontal disease.

Permanent teeth

Permanent teeth are the adult teeth. They begin to come in around age 6.

Pin

The pin is the surrounding of the root of a tooth.

Pin

A pin refers to a piece of metal that provides better retention of a filling.

Polish

Polishing is the process of making a tooth or filling smooth and shiny.

Pontic

The pontic is the false tooth on a bridge or denture that replaces a missing tooth.

Post

A post is a big pin often made of metal or carbon. The post helps support a big buildup on a tooth.

Posterior

Posterior refers to locations at the back.

Pre-authorization

Pre-authorization is the prior approval usually from a dental insurance company before a treatment is performed.

Pre-medication

Pre-medication is taken prior to treatment.

Premolar

Premolars are the two teeth in front of the molars.

Prescription

A prescription is a written form from a doctor or dentist to a pharmacist. It states the type, amount, and directions for a medication or appliance for a patient.

Primary teeth

Primary teeth are baby teeth.

Prophylaxis/
prophy

Prophylaxis involves the cleaning or polishing of the teeth to prevent oral diseases.

Prosthesis

A dental prosthesis is an artificial device to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Prosthodontics

Prosthodontics involves diagnosing, treating, and creating the devices or restorations that replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Pulp

The pulp of the tooth is the innermost area which houses the nerves and blood vessels.

Pulpectomy

A pulpotomy removes only the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.

Pulpotomy

A pulpotomy removes only the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.

Radiograph

A radiograph is an x-ray image.

Recall

Recall referrals to your routine dental exam and teeth cleaning appointment.

Recementation

Recementation involves adhering or gluing an appliance/prosthesis back onto the associated area.

Restoration

A dental restoration restores the function and aesthetic of a tooth. Fillings, crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures are dental restorations.

Retainer

A retainer helps keep the teeth in the correct position after orthodontic treatment.

Retreatment

Retreatment involves repeating the root canal treatment.

Root

The root is the bottom of the tooth that anchors the tooth to the mouth and supporting structures.

Root canal

A root canal runs inside the tooth root and contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.

Root canal treatment

A root canal treatment treats and cleanses the root canal.

Root planing

Root planing is the cleaning of the tooth root.

Rubber dam

A rubber dam fits around the tooth to isolate the area from the rest of the mouth.

Scaling

Scaling refers to the treatment for cleaning below the gum line.

Sealant

A dental sealant is a thin layer of material that covers the grooves of the tooth to prevent cavities.

Sedation

Sedation involves using medication to keep a patient calm.

Space Maintainer

A space maintainer is an appliance that keeps space between the teeth.

Splint

A splint prevents movement of a mobile part.

Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint links the two parts of the jaw.

Torus

Torus is a bone growth that usually occurs on the roof of the mouth or around the premolars on the lower jaw.

Veneer

Veneers are thin layers of tooth-colored material that are applied to the front of the teeth. They are often used to enhance the appearance of the teeth.

Wisdom tooth

Wisdom teeth are the last and final molars. Each wisdom tooth is the eighth (or last) tooth from the middle of the jaw.

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