• A

    Amalgam – Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.
    Anesthesia – Medications used to relieve pain.
    Anterior teeth – Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.
    Arch – The upper or lower jaw.

  • B

    Baby bottle tooth decay – Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth.
    Bicuspids -A premolar tooth; tooth with two cusps, which are pointed or rounded eminences on or near the masticating surface of a tooth.
    Bitewings – X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.
    Bonding – Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.
    Bridge – A prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment teeth or implant replacements.
    Bruxism – Teeth grinding.

  • C

    Calculus – A hard deposit of mineralized substance adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth or prosthetic devices.
    Canal – The narrow chamber inside the tooth’s root.
    Canines – Also called cuspids.
    Canker sore – One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.
    Caries – A commonly used term for tooth decay, or cavities.
    Cold sore – Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.
    Composite filling – Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings.
    Composite resin – A tooth colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.
    Contouring – The process of reshaping teeth.
    Crown – An artificial tooth replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure. It is also placed on a dental implant.
    Cusps – The pointed parts on top of the back teeth’s chewing surface.
    Cuspids – Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.

  • D

    Dentin – The tooth layer underneath the enamel.
    Denture – A removable set of teeth.

  • E

    Endodontics – A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth’s root or nerve.

  • F

    Fluoride – A harmless over-exposure to fluoride resulting in tooth discoloration.
    Fluorosis – A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.

  • G

    Gingiva – Another word for gum tissue.
    Gingivitis – A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque.
    Gum disease – An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease.

  • I

    Impacted teeth – A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.
    Implant – A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.
    Incisor – Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.
    Inlay – An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.

  • L

    Laminate veneer – A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.

  • M

    Malocclusion – Bad bite relationship.
    Mandible – The lower jaw.
    Maxilla – The upper jaw.
    Molar – Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.

  • N

    Neuromuscular Dentistry – Addresses more than the aches and pains felt in and around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.

  • O

    Onlay – A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.
    Orthodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.
    Overdenture – A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.

  • P

    Palate – Roof of the mouth.
    Partial denture – A removable appliance that replaces missing teeth.
    Pediatric Dentistry – A field of dentistry that deals with children’s teeth
    Perio pocket – An opening formed by receding gums.
    Periodontal disease – Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.
    Periodontist – A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.
    Permanent teeth – The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.
    Plaque – A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing.
    Posterior teeth – The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
    Primary teeth – A person’s first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.
    Prophylaxis – The act of cleaning the teeth.
    Prosthodontics – The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.
    Pulp – The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.

  • R

    Receding gum – A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth’s enamel and surrounding bone.
    Resin filling – An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.
    Root canal – A procedure in which a tooth’s nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.
    Root planing – Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.

  • S

    Sealant – A synthetic material placed on the tooth’s surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces.

  • T

    TMJ – Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.
    Tarter – A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth’s surface.

  • V

    Veneer – A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.

  • W

    Whitening – A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.
    Wisdom tooth – Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence.