Glossary 2018-03-08T23:56:27+00:00



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


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 – 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

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

Dentures – 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 removal of a tooth or teeth


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


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

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

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


Lateral – these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals


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


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


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


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


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


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