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Dental Dictionary

Abscess

A collection of pus. 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.

Asepsis

No micro-organism.

Attrition

Wear of teeth due to activities such as chewing.

Avulsed

An injury that causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of the mouth.

Bitewing

A kind of dental x-ray which is taken with the teeth bite together. The main function of this kind of x-ray is to detect cavities in between teeth and height of bone support.

Bleaching

Whitening of teeth.

Bridge

A prosthesis which is fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.

Bruxism

Teeth grinding.

Canine

The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are four of them. They are the longest teeth in humans.

Canker sore

An ulceration with yellow base and red border in mouth. It can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus.

Caries

Tooth decay.

Cavity

A hole on the tooth.

Cast

A model of teeth.

Cementation

The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.

Chlorhexidine

An anti-microbial agent. It is available in many forms such as gels and rinses. It is an effective agent in controlling gum diseases.

Clasp

A metal arm extended from a removable partial denture. It helps to hold onto natural tooth structure and thus provide anchorage for the denture.

Cold sore

An ulcer or blister on lip. A form of herpes simplex.

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 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 function and outlook.

Decay

The rotten part of the tooth.

Dentistry

A branch of medicine that involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of any disease concerning teeth, oral cavity, and associated structures.

Dentition

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

Denture

(Immediate/complete/partial) (overdenture, 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.

Denturist

The person who specializes in fabricating dentures. A Denturist is not responsible for making any type of diagnosis or carrying out any other treatment (e.g. removing teeth).

Desensitization

A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.

Diagnosis

The process of identifying dental disease.

Diastema

The space between two adjacent teeth.

Distal

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

Edentulous

No teeth.

Endodontics

A department of dentistry involving diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental pulp (where the nerves and blood vessels are 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 placed 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.

Floss

A thread/tape that goes in between teeth for cleaning.

Fluoride

A compound of fluorine (an element) which be put in different forms such as water, gels, and rinses to strengthen teeth.

Fluoride Treatment

Teeth treatment with fluoride agents like gel or rinse. It helps to prevent tooth decay.

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 commonplace.

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 gum.

Hemorrhage

Bleeding

Homeostasis

Stop bleeding.

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 jaw bone to support a false tooth, a denture or a bridge.

Impression

A mold taken by some jelly-like material loaded on a tray.

Incisal

The cutting edge of front teeth.

Incisor

The four upper and lower front teeth.

Inlay

A restoration (usually gold, composite or ceramics) fabricated in the lab that cements on a tooth like a missing puzzle piece. It helps to restore the normal function and outlook of the tooth.

Interproximal

The space between two adjacent teeth.

Tips for ‘Cavity’ prevention

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
  • Watch what your child drinks.
  • Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

Factors affecting gum health

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition