This basic dental glossary was created to help you, the patient, better understand some of the professional terms you may come across on our website or in the office.

Abscess– a swelling caused by an an infection resulting in a pus filled hole

Bridge – an artificial fixed or removable prosthesis replacing one or more teeth.(more on the subject)

Bruxism– the habit of tooth grinding, usually during sleep, often resulting in loose or worn teeth, gum recession, destruction of the supportive bone and TMJ disorders.

Calculus – hardened deposit of mineral salts formed around the teeth.

Crown – visible part of tooth covered by enamel. Crown – artificial – (cap) restoration made of metal or porcelain covering damaged tooth.(more on the subject)

Dentin – a mid part of tooth surrounding the pulp and covered by enamel

Denture – a partial or full set of artificial removable teeth (more on the subject)

Enamel – the hard white outer covering of the tooth

Endodontics – an area of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp and the tissues at the root apex

Gingivitis – a condition in which the gums are red, swollen and bleeding. Most cases result from poor oral hygiene and the build-up of plaque on teeth

Implant – tooth replacement inserted into the bone in order to provide structure for an artificial fixed restoration.

(more on the subject)

Malocclusion – (bad bite) abnormal contact between upper and lower teeth

Molars – back teeth used for grinding food. The furthest (third) molars are also known as wisdom teeth.

Orthodontics – branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis of misaligned teeth.

Overbite – a vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower teeth

Partial – (denture) removable appliance replacing one or more teeth.(more on the subject)

Periodontal – relating to the gums and bone structure that surrounds and supports teeth

Plaque – a thin film on the the surface of teeth made up of material in saliva containing bacteria

Pontic – the artificial tooth of the fixed bridge that replaces natural tooth

Post – a metal or carbon fiber support used to reinforce a tooth that has had a root canal therapy.

Prosthodontics – branch of dentistry that deals with replacement of damaged or missing teeth

Pulp – soft, spongy tissue in the center of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves

Root canal – space in the root of tooth that contains pulp tissue

Root canal therapy – a procedure in which root canal is cleaned, shaped and filled

Tartar – a salivary deposit of calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, and organic matter on natural or artificial teeth

TMJ – (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome) a misalignment of the joint connecting upper and lower jaw resulting in muscle and joint pain in the jaw area.