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Glossary

-A-

Abutment – an artificial root used to anchor a dental implant or a natural tooth that helps support a fixed bridge.
Alveolar bone – the portion of the jawbone that forms and supports the tooth socket.
Amalgam – material made of mercury and other alloy mixtures that is used to restore a decayed tooth.
Anterior teeth – the front teeth (incisors and cuspids).

-B-

Bicuspids – the back teeth.
Bonding – a procedure used to restore crooked, chipped, cracked or discolored teeth. During the procedure, composite material, either plastic or resin, is bonded to the surface of the tooth.
Bone Graft – a surgical procedure performed to replace missing bone, in preparation for the placement of bridges or dental implants.
Bridge – a fixed or removable appliance that replaces one or multiple missing teeth. Bridges can be made of porcelain, gold or alloys, or a combination of all these materials.
Bruxism – clenching or grinding of the teeth.

-C-

CAD/CAM – technology used to design and create dental crowns and other restorations.
Calculus – the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.
Canines – pointy teeth next to the front teeth. Also called cuspids.
Caries – cavities; tooth decay.
Contouring – reshaping of the teeth.
Crown – also called a cap. A crown restores a tooth that is decayed, fractured, misshapen or discolored.


-D-

Dental implant – an artificial tooth root used to replace a single or multiple missing teeth.
Dentin – the dense, hard, bony tissue that makes up the main portion of a tooth; located beneath the enamel.
Dentures – a removable prosthesis used to replace missing 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 removal of a tooth or teeth.

-F-

Filling – amalgam (metal) or composite material used to repair a decayed, cracked or broken tooth.
Fluoride – a substance naturally present in water that helps prevent tooth decay.
Fracture – a broken tooth.

-G-

Gingiva – gum tissue
Gum Disease – a serious infection of the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. Also called periodontal disease.

-I-

Impacted Tooth – often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requires extraction.
Incisor – one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth.
Inlay – filling used to restore small areas of mild to moderate decay on the surface of a tooth.

-M-

Malocclusion – bad bite.
Mandible – the lower jaw.
Maxilla – the upper jaw.

-N-

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

-P-

Pedontist – 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.

-S-

Sleep Apnea – a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night. Prosthodontists use non-surgical custom made appliances to treat sleep apnea.

-T-

TMJ Disorder – a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw, often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.

-V-

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