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Glossary of Dental Terms
 

Select the first letter of the dental term you are seeking to find a definition.

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 
 

A

Abrasion
Tooth wear caused by forces other than chewing such as holding objects between the teeth or improper brushing.

Abutment
A tooth (or implant) that supports a dental prosthesis.

Alveolar bone
The part of the jaw that surround the roots of the teeth.

Alveolar process
The curving part of the jaw into which the teeth are rooted.

Alveolus
The socket in the alveolar bone into which the toothís root fits.

Amalgam
An alloy used in direct dental restorations.

Analgesia
Loss of pain sensations without loss of consciousness.

Ankylosis
A condition where two hard tissues are fused together. When this happens to a tooth and the alveolar bone, the tooth partially erupts.

Anesthesia

General Anesthesia: A controlled state of unconsciousness, accompanied by a partial or complete loss of protective reflexes, including loss of ability to independently maintain airway and respond purposefully to physical stimulation or verbal command, produced by a pharmacologic or non-pharmacologic method or combination thereof;

Intravenous Sedation/Analgesia: A medically controlled state of depressed consciousness while maintaining the patientís airway, protective reflexes and the ability to respond to stimulation or verbal commands. It includes intravenous administration of sedative and/or analgesic agent(s) and appropriate monitoring.

Local Anesthesia: The loss of pain sensation over a specific area of the anatomy without loss of consciousness.

Non-Intravenous Conscious Sedation: A medically controlled state of depressed consciousness while maintaining the patientís airway, protective reflexes and the ability to respond to stimulation or verbal commands. It includes administration of sedative and/or analgesic agent(s) by a route other than IV; (PO, PR, Intranasal, IM) and appropriate monitoring.

Regional Anesthesia: A term used for local anesthesia. See Local Anesthesia.

Apicoectomy
Removal of the tip of a tooth root.

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B


Benign
The mild character of an illness or the non-malignant character of a neoplasm.

Bicuspid
A premolar tooth; a tooth with two cusps.

Bilateral
Occurring on, or pertaining to, both right and left sides.

Biopsy
Process of removing tissue for histologic evaluation.

Bitewing radiographs
X-rays used to reveal the crowns of several upper and lower teeth as they bite down.

Bleaching
A cosmetic dental procedure that whitens the teeth using a bleaching solution.

Bonding
A composite resin applied to a tooth to change its shape and/or color.
Bonding also refers to how a filling, orthodontic appliance or some fixed partial dentures are attached to teeth.

Bridge
See Fixed Partial Denture and/or Removable Partial Denture.

Bruxism
Constant grinding or clenching of teeth during the day or while asleep.

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C

Calculus
Hard deposit of mineralized material adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth.

Canal
A relatively narrow tubular passage or channel.

Root Canal: Space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue.

Cariogenic
Promotes tooth decay.

Caries
Commonly used term for tooth decay.

Cavity
Decay in tooth caused by caries; also referred to as carious lesion.

Cementum
Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root.

Cleft Lip
Birth defect in which one or more fissures form in the upper lip, which takes place while the fetus is growing.

Cleft Palate
Congenital deformity resulting in lack of fusion of the soft and/or hard palate, either partial or complete.

Clenching
The clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together in centric occlusion, frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort.

Composite
A dental restorative material made up of disparate or separate parts (e.g. resin and quartz particles).

Conscious Sedation
A state in which patients are awake and can breathe and swallow on their own but are less aware of what is taking place.

Crown

Anatomical Crown: That portion of tooth normally covered by, and including, enamel;

Abutment Crown: Artificial crown serving for the retention or support of a dental prosthesis;

Artificial Crown: Restoration covering or replacing the major part, or the
whole of the clinical crown of a tooth;

Clinical Crown: That portion of a tooth not covered by supporting tissues.

Crown Lengthening: A surgical procedure exposing more tooth for restorative purposes by apically positioning the gingival margin and/ or removing supporting bone.

Cusp
The pointed portion of the tooth.

Cyst
Pathological cavity, usually lined with epithelium, containing fluid or soft matter.

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D

Debridement
Removing foreign matter or dead tissue.

Decay
The lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure.

Dental Prophylaxis
Scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains.

Dental Prosthesis
An artificial device that replaces one or more missing teeth.

Dental Specialist
A dentist who has received postgraduate training in one of the recognized dental specialties.

* DDS
* DMD

Dentin
That part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum.

Dentition
The teeth in the dental arch.

* Permanent Dentition
Refers to the permanent teeth in the dental arch.
* Deciduous Dentition
Refers to the deciduous or primary teeth in the dental arch.

Denture
An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues.

Denture Base
The part of the denture that holds the artificial teeth and fits over the gums.

Direct Restoration
A restoration fabricated inside the mouth.

Dry Mouth
See Xerostomia

Dry Socket
Localized inflammation of the tooth socket following extraction due to infection or loss of blood clot; osteitis.

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