Dental Dictionary

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Abscess

A collection of pus. Usually forms because of infection.

Abutment

A tooth or tooth structure which is responsible for the anchorage of a bridge or a denture.

Amalgam

A silver filling material.

Anesthetic

An agent that causes temporary loss of sensation/feeling.

Anterior

Referring to a location near the front.

Apex

In dentisty, refers to the the narrowed or pointed end of the root.

Asepsis

Is the state of being free from disease-causing contaminants or, preventing contact with microorganisms. Refers to those practices used to promote or induce this state in surgery.

Synonym: sterile.

Attrition

Wearing down and weakening of teeth due to activities such as chewing, grinding (bruxism), or poor oral hygiene.

Avlused

An injury that causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of the mouth.

Bitewing

A kind of dental x-ray which is taken with the teeth bite together. The main function of this kind of x-ray is to detect cavity in between teeth and height of bone support.

Bleaching

Whitening of teeth.

Bridge

A prosthesis which is fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.

Bruxism

When you clench (tightly hold your top and bottom teeth together) or grind (slide your teeth back and forth over each other) your teeth.

Canine

The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are totally 4 of them. They are the longest teeth in humans.

Canker sore

An ulceration with yellow base and red border in mouth. It can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus.

Caries

A bacterial infection that causes destruction of teeth, from the Latin, “rot.” AKA, Tooth decay.

Cavity

A hole in the tooth caused by tooth decay.

Cast

A model of teeth made with shaping material in a mold.

Cementation

The process of “glue” the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.

Chlorhexidine

An anti-microbial agent. It is available in many forms such as gels and rinses. It is an effective agent in controlling gum diseases.

Clasp

A metal arm extends from a removable partial denture. It helps to hold on to natural tooth structure and thus provide anchorage for the denture.

Cold sore

An ulcer or blister on lip caused by a form of herpes simplex.

Composite

Material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties, that when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components.

Cross-bite

An abnormal bite relationship of upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth/tooth align towards the check/ lip side more than the upper teeth/tooth.

Crown

A crown is almost like a “cap” on a tooth. It covers the tooth partially or totally above the gum to restore its function and outlook. Can be made from porcelain, plastic or metal

Decay

The state or process of rotting or decomposition.

Dentistry

A branch of medicine that involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of any disease concern about teeth, oral cavity, and associated structures.

Dentition

Pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. In particular, the position, type and number of teeth in upper and lower jaw.

Denture

An artificial object to replace missing teeth and their neighboring structures. There are many different types of denture to satisfy different treatment requirements and patient preferences.

Variations: Immediate, complete, partial, overdenture, temporary

Denturist

The person who specializes in fabricating dentures. Denturist is not responsible for making any type of diagnosis or carrying out any other treatment (e.g. Removing teeth).

Desensitization

A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.

Diagnosis

The process of identifying dental disease.

Diastema

The space in between two adjacent teeth.

Distal

A direction indication in the mouth. It indicates the direction away from the center of the jaw.

Edentulous

Lacking teeth.

Endodontics

A department of dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental pulp (the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth).

Eruption

The process of the tooth appearing in the mouth.

Excision

Surgical removal of bone or tissue.

Extruded

When a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket.

Filling

The common term used for the restoration of lost tooth structure using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic or porcelain.

Flipper

A temporary denture to replace missing teeth during the waiting period for long term treatment.

Floss

A thread/tape goes in between teeth for cleaning.

Fluoride

A compound of fluorine (an element) which is put in different forms such as water, gels, rinses to strengthen up teeth.

Fluoride Treatment

Teeth treat with fluoride agents like gel or rinse. It helps to prevent tooth decay.

Fracture

The breaking of a part, especially of a bony structure, like a tooth.

Framework

A metal skeleton of a removable partial denture to support the false teeth and the plastic attachments.

Gingivitis

The mildest form of gum disease: inflammation of gum. The earliest sign is bleeding gum.

Hemorrhage

Bleeding

Homeostasis

It is a process that maintains the stability of the human body’s internal environment in response to changes in external conditions.

Impaction

A condition where a tooth is not able to come in normally because it is stuck underneath another tooth or bone.

Implant

A device (usually “screw-like”) put in the jaw bone to support a false tooth, a denture or a bridge.

Impression

A mold taken by some jelly-like material loaded on a tray.

Incisal

The cutting edge of front teeth.

Incisor

The four upper and lower front teeth.

Inlay

A restoration (usually is gold, composite or ceramics) fabricated in the lab fitted to a cavity in a tooth and cemented into place. Like completing a puzzle, it helps to restore the normal function and appearance of the tooth.

Interproximal

The space in between two adjacent teeth. See also: Diastema

Jacket Crown

crown for a front tooth, usually made of porcelain

Jaw

A common name referring to either the *maxilla (upper jaw) or *mandible (lower jaw). The hard bone that supports the face and includes alveolar bone, which anchors the teeth.

Keratin

A protein present in all cuticular structures of the body such as hair, epidermis and horns.

Laminate

thin plastic or porcelain veneer produced in a dental laboratory and then bonded to a tooth to improve its appearance

Laughing Gas

Common name for nitrous oxide; used to reduce anxieties and relax patients.

Lingual

Refers to the side of the tooth nearest the tongue.

Mesial

The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw.

Molar

The last 3 upper and lower teeth on both side of the mouth.

Mouthguard

A device to be worn in the mouth. Depends on the design of it, it prevents injury on teeth and/or jaw during teeth grinding or sport events.

Nightguard

A mouthguard which is worn at night time.

Occlusal

The biting surface of the back teeth.

Occlusion

The way how the upper and lower teeth close together.

Onlay

A restoration covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.

Open bite

The situation that the upper teeth not able to contact the opposing lower teeth.

Orthodontics

A special field in dentistry which involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities or facial irregularities.

Over bite

The overlap of upper teeth and lower teeth when they close together.

Overhang

The portion of filling material that hangs beyond the border of the cavity.

Palate

The roof of the mouth.

Panoramic Radiograph

An x-ray film to obtain the wide view of upper and lower jaw and their associated structures.

Perforation

An opening on a tooth or other oral structure.

Periapical

The surrounding of the bottom of the root of a tooth.

Periodontics

A specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of supporting unit of teeth.

Permanent teeth

Adult’s teeth. The first permanent tooth usually comes in around 6 years old.

Pin

A piece of “nail-like” metal. It usually is used for better retention of a filling.

Polish

A process to make the tooth or filling or other denture smooth and glossy.

Pontic

The false tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.

Post

A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal or carbon. Its function usually is to support a big buildup on a tooth.

Posterior

Locate at the back.

Pre-authorization

An approval from the particular authority (usually insurance company in dentistry) before any action (treatment) is carried out.

Pre-medication

Medication needs to be taken before treatment.

Premolar

The two teeth located in front of the molar.

Prescription

A written statement (from a doctor to a pharmacist) regarding the type, the amount and direction of the use of a medication for a patient. In dentistry, prescription can also be a written statement on preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician.

Primary teeth

Baby teeth.

Prophylaxis/prophy

The procedure of teeth polishing. It also means the prevention of diseases.

Prosthesis

An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Prosthodontics

A specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Pulp

The inner most part of a tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.

Pulpectomy

The removal of the whole pulp inside a tooth.

Pulpotomy

The removal of the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.

Q

Radiograph

An x-ray picture.

Recall

The regular checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.

Recementation

The process of “glue” the appliance/prosthesis back on the associated area.

Restoration

An item a dentist uses to restore the normal function of a tooth or an area in the mouth. It can be a filling, a crown, a bridge, etc.

Retainer

A device used for maintaining the position of teeth in the jaw in orthodontic treatment.

Retreatment

The process of repeating the root canal treatment.

Root

The bottom part of tooth. It anchors the tooth to its supporting units.

Root canal

The canal that runs inside the root of the tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth.

Root canal treatment

A treatment for the root canal inside the tooth.

Root planing

The action of cleaning on the root area of teeth.

Rubber dam

A rubber sheet that fits around teeth. It isolates the treatment area from the rest of the oral cavity.

Scaling

The action of cleaning of teeth below the gumline.

Sealant

A thin layer of plastic-like material covers the grooves and pits on a tooth to prevent cavity.

Sedation

The use of medication to calm down a patient.

Space Maintainer

An appliance to maintain the space in between teeth.

Splint

An appliance or a material to prevent movement of a mobile part.

Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ)

The joint that links two jaws.

Torus

An outgrowth on bone. It usually develops on the roof of the mouth or around the premolar area on the lower jaw.

U

Veneer

A layer of tooth-colored material (can be porcelain, composite, or ceramics) attaches to the front of the tooth. It is usually for better outlook of the tooth.

Wisdom tooth

The eighth (also the last tooth) tooth from the middle of the jaw.

Xerostomia

Dry mouth

Y

Z