Dental Terminology

Amalgam: Silver/mercury alloy used to fill cavities.

Bleaching: Cosmetic whitening of teeth using a certain type of peroxide.

Caries: Cavities, tooth decay.

Carcinogenic: Cancer-causing.

Cariogenic: Decay-causing.

Composites: Tooth-colored restorative materials.

Cosmetic Dentistry: Aesthetic improvement of the color and shape of teeth performed by a general dentist.

Edentulous: Having lost most or all of the natural teeth.

Endodontist: Treats oral conditions that arise as a result of disease or injury of the dental pulp of the tooth, such as a root canal.

General Dentist: Primary care provider for patients in all age groups who take responsibility for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services to meet patients’ oral health needs.

Geriatric Dentist: General dentist who primarily treats senior citizens.

Gingivitis: Reversible inflammation of gum tissue not including the bone.

Malocclusion: Misalignment of teeth and or jaws.

Microair Abrasion: Drill-free technique using an instrument resembling a tiny sand blaster that delivers tiny aluminum oxide particles to the surface, where they cut away the decayed area.

Mouth Guards: An appliance used to protect teeth from injury.

Occlusal Surface: The chewing surface of the tooth.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: Treats and surgically corrects diseases, injuries, and defects of the mouth and jaws.

Oral Pathologist: Examines oral tissues for evidence of suspected abnormalities such as cancer.

Orthodontics: A branch of dentistry dealing with irregularities of the teeth and their correction, as by means of braces and retainer.

Orthodontist: Designs and applies corrective and supportive appliances, braces, to realign crooked teeth.

Pediatric Dentist: Provides treatment and care for children from birth through adolescence.

Periodontal Disease: Inflammation and irritation of the gums which, if left untreated, can cause the jawbone and teeth to deteriorate and fall out.

Periodontist: Diagnoses and treats diseases of the tissues supporting and surrounding the teeth, especially periodontal disease.

Plaque: Bacterial colonies which have mineralized and attack teeth, causing dental decay.

Porcelain Veneers: Ultra-thin shells of ceramic material bonded to the front of the tooth.

Prophylaxis: Professional cleaning of the teeth by a dentist or hygienist.

Prosthodontist: Constructs artificial appliances designed to restore and maintain oral function by replacing missing teeth and other oral structures such as dentures.

Public Health Dentist: Concerned with the dental health needs of entire communities, and can design and administer large-scale prevention and dental care programs by compiling and analyzing statistics.

Radiosurgery: Surgery technique that uses radio waves to produce a pressure-less, bloodless incision; can also be used to heat bleaching agents.

Resin: Plastic material used in bonding, restorative, and replacement procedures.

Restorative Dentistry: Process of restoring missing, damaged or diseased teeth to normal form and function, performed by general dentists.

Sealant: Plastic coating used to protect teeth from decay.

Special Patient: Person with a disability who requires particular dental care needs.

Third Molars: Wisdom teeth.

TMD: Temporomandibular disorder; problems relating to your temporomandibular joint which include locking of the jaw, frequent headaches, sore jaw muscles, and painful clicking of the jaw.

TMJ: Temporomandibular joint

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