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Dental Dictionary

A smile is the curve that sets all things straight.

Abscess
A collection of pus that 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
The front position.

Apex
The end of the root.

Attrition
Wear of teeth due to activities such as chewing.

Bitewing
A kind of dental X-ray taken with the teeth together. The main function of this kind of X-ray is to detect cavity in between teeth.

Bleaching
Whitening of teeth.

Bridge
A prosthesis fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.

Canine
The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. They are the longest teeth in humans.

Cast
A model of teeth.

Cavity
A hole on the tooth.

Cementation
The process of "gluing" the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.

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.

Composite
White filling.

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

Crown (porcelain/plastic/metal)
A crown is almost like a "cap" on a tooth. It covers the tooth partially or totally above the gum to restore its form and function.

Decay
The diseased part of the tooth.

Dentition
The position, type, and number of teeth in upper and lower jaw.

Denture
(Immediate/complete/partial) (over denture, temporary) 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.

Desensitization
A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.

Diastema
The space in between two adjacent teeth.

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

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
The action of cutting something off.

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

Filling
A restoration places on a tooth to restore its function and appearance.

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

Fluoride
A compound of fluorine (an element) that strengthens teeth.

Fracture
When a cusp of a tooth becomes weakened, a fracture may result. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root and damage to the pulp is common.

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 gums.

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

Implant
A device (usually "screw-like") put in the jawbone to support an artificial tooth, a denture, or a bridge.

Impression
A mold taken of your teeth.

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. An inlay fits on a tooth like a missing puzzle piece. It helps to restore the normal function and appearance of the tooth.

Interproximal
The space in between two adjacent teeth.

Molar
The last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.

Mouth guard
A device worn to protect teeth. It prevents injury to teeth and/or jaw during teeth grinding or sporting events.

Night guard
A mouth guard that is worn at nighttime to prevent the damage caused by teeth grinding.

Occlusal
The biting surface of the back teeth.

Occlusion
How the upper and lower teeth close together.

Onlay
A restoration that covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.

Orthodontics
A special field in dentistry involving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities or facial irregularities.

Panoramic Radiograph
An X-ray film whose purpose it to obtain the wide view of upper and lower jaw.

Periodontics
A specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the gums and other structures around the teeth.

Permanent Teeth
Adult teeth. The first permanent tooth usually comes in around six years of age.

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 artificial tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing natural tooth.

Pre-authorization
An approval from a 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.

Primary teeth
Baby teeth.

Prophylaxis/Prophy
The procedure of teeth polishing. It also means the prevention of dental diseases.

Prosthesis
An artificial part to replace missing teeth.

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

Pulp
The innermost part of a tooth. It contains the 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.

Radiograph
An X-ray picture.

Recall
The regular checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.

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 gum line.

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

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 the upper and lower jaw.

Veneer
A layer of tooth-colored material (can be porcelain, composite, or ceramics) that attaches to the front of the tooth.

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

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