SERVICES

GLOSSARY

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Abrasion:
Loss of tooth structure caused by a hard toothbrush, poor brushing technique, or Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth).

Abscess:
An infection of a tooth, soft tissue or bone

Abutment:
tooth or teeth that support a fixed or removable bridge

Adhesive Dentistry:
Contemporary term for dental restorations that involve "bonding" of composite resin or porcelain fillings to natural teeth

Air Abrasion:
Removal of tooth structure by blasting a tooth with air and abrasive, a relatively new technology that may avoid the need for anesthetic

Allergy:
Unfavorable systemic response to a foreign substance or drug

Alveolar bone:
The jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth

Amalgam:
A most common filling material, also known as "silver fillings,"containing mercury (app 50%), silver, tin, copper and zinc used for fillings

Analgesia:
A state of pain relief; an agent lessening pain

Anesthesia:
Partial or complete elimination of pain sensation; numbing a tooth is an example of local anesthesia; general anesthesia produces partial or complete unconsciousness
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Anterior teeth:
The six upper or six lower front teeth

Antibiotic:
A drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria

ANUG:
An acronym for Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth or Vincent's disease, aggravated by stress and/or smoking

Apex:
The tip of the root of a tooth

Apicoectomy:
Surgical removal of the root tip to treat a dead tooth

Arch:
Describes the alignment of the upper or lower teeth

Attrition:
Loss of structure due to natural wear

Base:
Cement placed under a dental restoration to insulate the pulp (nerve chamber)

Bicuspid or Pre-molar:
Transitional teeth behind the cuspids

Bifurcation (trifurcation):
Juncture of two (three) roots in posterior teeth

Biopsy:
Removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination

Bite:
Relationship of the upper and lower teeth on closure (occlusion)

Bite Wings:
Caries (decay) detection x-rays

Black Hairy Tongue:
Elongated papillae on the tongue, promoting the growth of microorganisms

Bleaching:
Chemical or laser treatment of natural teeth for whitening effect
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Block Injection:
Anesthesia of a nerve trunk that covers a large area of the jaw; a mandibular block injection produce numbness of the lower jaw, teeth, half the tongue

Bonding:
Adhesive dental restoration technique; a tooth-colored composite resin to repair and/or change the color or shape of a tooth

Bone Resorption:
Decrease in bone supporting the roots of teeth; a common result of periodontal (gum disease)

Braces:
Devices used by orthodontists to gradually reposition teeth to a more favorable alignment

Bridge:
Stationary dental prosthesis (appliance) fixed to teeth adjacent to a space; replaces one or more missing teeth, cemented or bonded to supporting teeth or implants adjacent to the space

Bruxism:
Grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep

Bruxomania:
Persistent "nervous" grinding of the teeth while the patient is awake

Calcium:
Chemical element needed for healthy teeth, bones and nerves

Calculus:
Hard residue, commonly known as "tarter," that forms on teeth due to inadequate plaque control, often stained yellow or brown

Canker Sore:
Mouth sore appearing whitish, often with a red halo, of ten to fourteen day duration

Cantilever Bridge:
Fixed bridge that attaches to adjacent teeth only on one end

Cap:
Common term for dental crown
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Caries:
Tooth decay or "cavities"

Cast or Model:
Reproduction of structures made by pouring plaster or stone into a mold

Cavitron:
Dental tool that uses high frequency ultrasonic waves to clean teeth

Cellulitis:
Soft tissue infection causing extensive, hard swelling, a potentially dangerous condition requiring immediate attention

Cementum:
Hard tissue that covers the roots of teeth

Chart:
Log of dental or medical records

Clasp:
Device that retains a removable partial denture to stationary teeth

Cleaning:
Removal of plaque and calculus (tarter) from teeth, generally above the gum line

Composite resin:
Material composed of plastic with small glass or ceramic particles; usually cured with filtered light or chemical catalyst

Cosmetic (aesthetic) dentistry:
Treatments performed to enhance appearance; not a recognized specialty

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation):
Artificial procedures employed by a rescuer after cessation of breathing or heart stoppage

Cross Bite:
Reverse biting relationship of upper and lower teeth; aka "under bite," as in Class III malocclusuion (prognathic jaw)

Crown:
(1) The portion of a tooth above the gum line;
(2) Dental restoration covering all or most of the natural tooth

Curettage:
Removal of diseased tissue from a periodontal pocket

Cusp:
Mound on posterior teeth

Cuspid or Canine:
The four "eye teeth"

Cyst:
A soft or hard tissue sac, hard or filled with fluid
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DDS:
Doctor of Dental Surgery - equivalent to DMD

DMD:
Doctor of Medical Dentistry - equivalent to DDS

Decay:
Destruction of tooth structure caused by toxins produced by bacteria

Deciduous Teeth:
Commonly called "baby teeth," the first set of (usually) twenty teeth

Dentin:
Inner layer of tooth structure, immediately under the surface enamel

Dental Implant:
A (usually) titanium cylinder surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to provide support for a dental restoration or appliance

Dentition:
The arrangement of natural or artificial teeth in the mouth

Denture:
Removable (partial or complete) set of artificial teeth

Denturism:
The production of dentures dispensed directly by laboratory technicians

Diastema:
Space between teeth
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Enamel:
Hard tissue covering the portion of tooth above the gum line

Endodontist:
Specialist who treats injuries, diseases and infections of the tooth pulp (nerve chamber)

Epidemiology:
Study of the incidence of disease in a population

Eruption:
Process of teeth protruding through the gums

Exfoliate:
Process of shedding deciduous (baby) teeth

Exodontia:
Practice of dental extractions

Explorer:
Sharp instrument used to detect decay on the surface of teeth

Extraction:
Removal of a Tooth

Eyeteeth:
The four upper and lower canine (cuspid) teeth
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Facing:
Tooth colored overlay on the visible portion of a crown; may be acrylic, composite or porcelain

FAGD:
Fellowship Academy of General Dentistry

Filling:
Restoration of lost tooth structure with metal, porcelain or resin materials

Fistula:
Channel emanating pus from an infection site; a gum boil

Flap Surgery:
Lifting of gum tissue to expose and clean underlying tooth and bone structures

Freeway Space:
Distance between the upper and lower teeth with the lower jaw in rest position

Forceps:
Instrument used for removal of teeth

Forensic Dentistry:
Practice of gathering legal evidence for body identification or judicial issues

Fossa:
Valley found on the surface of posterior teeth

Full Denture:
Removable dental prosthesis (appliance) replacing all upper or lower teeth

Full Mouth Reconstruction:
Extensive restorations of natural teeth with crowns and or fixed bridges to manage bite problems.

Frenectomy:
Removal or reshaping of thin muscle tissue that attaches the upper or lower lips to the gum, or the tongue to the floor of the mouth
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GTR:
(guided tissue regeneration) A new technique for replacing bone tissue

General Anesthesia:
Controlled state of unconsciousness, accompanied by a partial or complete loss of pain sensation, protective reflexes, and the ability to respond purposefully to physical stimulation or verbal command

Geographic Tongue:
Benign changes in the usual color and texture of tongue; does not require treatment

Gingiva:
Gum tissue

Gingivectomy:
Surgical removal of gum tissue

Gingivitis:
Inflammation of gum tissue

Gum Boil:
See fistula.

Gum Recession:
Exposure of dental roots due to shrinkage of the gums as a result of abrasion, periodontal disease or surgery
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Halitosis:
Bad breath of oral or gastrointestinal origin

Heimlich Maneuver:
Technique employed by rescuer for obstruction of victim's airway

Hematoma:
Swelling of effused blood beneath tissue surface

HMO or DMO:
Health (dental) maintenance organization which specifies a health care (dental) provider a patient may see. Profitability depends on minimization of treatment.

Hydrogen Peroxide:
Disinfecting solution used in dental irrigation procedures or as mouth rinse

Hygienist:
Dental auxiliary who cleans teeth and provides patient education; administers local anesthetic, nitrous oxide and performs periodontal scaling

Hyperemia:
Increased blood flow; may cause dental sensitivity to temperature and sweets; may precede an abscess
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Impaction:
Partial or completely unexposed tooth that is wedged against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue, precluding the eruption process

Implant:
Artificial device replacing tooth root; may anchor an artificial tooth, bridge,
or denture

Impression:
Mold made of the teeth and soft tissues

Incision and Drainage:
Surgical incision of an abscess to drain suppuration (pus)

Incisors:
Four upper and four lower front teeth, excluding the cuspids (canine teeth)

Infiltration:
Local anesthetic procedure effective for upper teeth and soft tissue; placement of anesthetic under the gum, allowing it to seep into bone

Inlay:
Indirect - filling made by a dental laboratory that is cemented or bonded into place, direct - placement of dental composite resin restoration at chair side

Interproximal:
Surfaces of adjoining teeth

Interocclusal:
space between upper and lower teeth

Intraoral Camera:
A small video camera used to view and magnify oral conditions;
images may be printed
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Jacket:
Crown for a front tooth, usually made of porcelain

Laminate:
Thin plastic or porcelain veneer produced in a dental laboratory and then bonded to a tooth

Laughing Gas:
Nitrous oxide; odorless inhalation agent that produces relative analgesic (sedation); reduces anxiety and creates a state of relaxation

Lesion:
Injury of bodily tissue due to infection, trauma or neoplasm

Local Anesthesia:
Partial or complete elimination of pain sensation, in the immediate vicinity of its application or injection

Malocclusion:
"Bad bite" or misalignment of the upper and lower teeth

Managed Care:
Program whereby patient-dentist assignment and dentist reimbursement is administered by a separate, external organization

Mandible:
The lower jaw

Margin:
Interface between a restoration and tooth structure

MAGD:
Masters Academy of General Dentistry

Maryland Bridge:
A bridge that is bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth; requires minimum tooth reduction

Mastication:
Process of chewing food

Maxilla:
The upper jaw

Meniscus:
Capsular cushion between temporomandibluar joint and glenoid fossa

Milk Teeth:
Deciduous (baby) teeth

Molars:
Three back teeth in each dental quadrant used for grinding food.

Moniliasis (thrush):
Opportunistic fungal infection after administration of antibiotic; not uncommon in the mouth

Mucogingival Junction (MGJ):
Meeting of thick, protective gingival tissue around the teeth and the friable mucous lining of the cheeks and lips
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NSAID:
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, often used as a dental analgesic

Nerve:
Tissue that conveys sensation, temperature, position information to the brain

Nerve (root) Canal:
Dental pulp; the internal chamber of a tooth

Night Guard:
Acrylic appliance used to prevent wear and temporomandibular damage caused by grinding or gnashing of the teeth during sleep

Nitrous Oxide:
A gas used to reduce patient anxiety

Novocain:
older brand name for a local anesthetic, currently replaced by safer, more effective agents

Occlusion:
Closure; relationship of the upper and lower teeth upon closure

Onlay:
Laboratory produced restoration covering one or more cusps of a tooth

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon:
A dental specialist who manages the diagnosis & surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, and deformities of the mouth and supporting structures; Requires four additional years of training after dental school

Oral Cavity:
The mouth

Oral Hygiene:
Process of maintaining cleanliness of the teeth and related structures

Oral and Maxillofacial surgery:
Surgical procedures on the mouth including extractions, removal of cysts or tumors, and repair of fractured jaws

Oral Pathologist:
Dentist specializing in the study of oral diseases

Orthodontics:
Dental specialty that treats misalignment of teeth

Osseous:
Boney

Overbite:
Vertical overlap of the front teeth

Overdenture:
Denture that fits over residual roots or dental implants

Overjet:
Horizontal overlap of the front teeth
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Palate:
Hard and soft tissue forming the roof of the mouth

Palliative Treatment:
Non invasive relief of irritating conditions

Parasthesia:
A partial loss of sensation; may be temporary or permanent

Partial Denture:
Removable dental prosthesis (appliance) replacing one or more natural teeth

Pathology:
Study of disease

Periapical (PA):
Region at the end of the roots of teeth

Periodontal Surgery:
Recontouring or esthetic management of diseased gum and supporting tissue

Periodontist:
Dental specialist treating the gums and supporting soft and hard tissues retaining natural teeth and the surgical placement of dental implants

Pedodontics or Pediatric Dentistry:
Dental specialty focusing on treatment of children

Periodontal Chart:
Record measuring the depth of gum pockets around the teeth

Permanent Teeth:
(usually) Thirty-two adult teeth in a complete dentition

Pit:
A small defect in the tooth enamel; junction of four formative lobes of a developing tooth

Placebo:
Inert medication or treatment that produces psychological benefit

Plaque:
Soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth; composed of bacteria and food debris due to inadequate dental hygiene

Pontic:
Replacement tooth mounted on a fixed or removal appliance

Porcelain Crown:
All porcelain restoration covering the coronal portion of tooth (above the gum line)

Porcelain Fused To Metal (PFM) Crown:
Restoration with metal coping (for strength) covered by porcelain (for appearance)

Porcelain Inlay or Onlay:
Tooth-colored restoration made of porcelain, cemented or bonded in place

Porcelain Veneers:
A thin layer of porcelain, fabricated by a laboratory) bonded to a natural tooth to replace lost tooth structure, close spaces, straighten teeth or change color and/or shape

Post:
Thin metal rod inserted into the root of a tooth after root canal therapy; provides retention for a "coping" that replaces lost tooth structure and retains crown

Post-core:
Post and buildup to replace lost tooth structure and retain crown

Post-crown:
Single structure that combines post-core and crown

PPO or PDO:
Preferred provider (dental) organization which a health care (dental) provider may join, offering fee for service treatment at reduced fees

Prognosis:
The anticipated outcome of treatment
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Prophylaxis:
Cleaning of the teeth for the prevention of periodontal disease and tooth decay

Prosthesis:
An artificial appliance for the replacement for a body part

Prosthodontist:
Dental specialist skilled in restoring or replacing teeth with fixed or removable prosthesis (appliance), maintaining proper occlusion; treats facial deformities with artificial prostheses such as eyes, ears, and noses

Pulp:
The nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue inside a tooth

Pulp Cap:
A medicated covering over a small area of exposed pulp tissue

Pulp Chamber:
The center or innermost portion of the tooth containing the pulp

Pulpectomy:
Complete removal of the pulp (commonly done in children's teeth)

Pulpitis:
Inflammation of the pulp; common cause of toothache

Pulpotomy:
Partial removal of the pulp tissue

Pyorrhea:
Older term for periodontal (gum) disease

Reimplantation:
Insertion and temporary fixation of partially or completely avulsed tooth or teeth, resulting from traumatic injury

Reline:
Acrylic restoration of denture base to compensate for bone loss; direct: done at chair side; indirect: in conjunction with a dental laboratory

Restoration:
Replacement of portion of a damaged tooth

Retained Root:
Partial root structure remaining in jaw after extraction or fracture of a natural tooth

Root:
Tooth structure that connects the tooth to the jaw

Root Canal:
Common term for root canal therapy, also the interior space of the tooth root

Root Canal Therapy:
Process of removing pulp of a tooth and filling it with an inert material

Root Resection:
Removal of a portion of diseased root structure, retaining the remaining natural tooth

Rubber Dam:
Soft latex sheet used to establish isolation of one or more teeth from contamination by oral fluids and to keep materials from falling to the back of the throat
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Saliva:
Clear lubricating fluid in the mouth containing water, enzymes, bacteria, mucus, viruses, blood cells and undigested food particles

Saliva Ejector:
Suction tube placed in the mouth to remove saliva

Salivary Glands:
Located under tongue and in cheeks, produce saliva

Scaling and Root Planning:
Meticulous removal of plaque and calculus from tooth surfaces

Sealants:
Thin resin material bonded in the pits and fissures of back teeth for the prevention of decay

Secondary Dentin:
Reparative tooth structure produced by the pulp in response to tooth irritation

Sequstrum:
Loosened spicule of bone pushed to the surface

Sinusitis:
Inflammation of the sinus that may mimic dental pain

Sleep Apnea:
The periodic interruption or delay in breathing during sleep

Space Maintainer:
Dental device that holds the space lost through premature loss of baby teeth

Splint:
Connection of two or more teeth so they function as a stronger single structure

Supernumerary Tooth:
Extra tooth

Suppuration:
Bacterial contamination of tissue exudates; pus
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Tartar:
Common term for dental calculus, a hard deposit that adheres to teeth; produces rough surface that attracts plaque

TMD (or tmj disorder):
Temperomandibular disorder; term given to condition characterized by facial pain and restricted ability to open or move the jaw

TMJ:
The temporomandibular joint, the point where the lower jaw attaches to the skull

Third-party Provider:
Insurance company, union, government agency that pays all or a part of cost of dental treatment

Tooth Bud:
Early embryonic structure that becomes a tooth

Tooth Whitening:
A chemical or laser process to lighten the color of teeth

Topical Anesthetic:
Ointment that produces mild anesthesia when applied to tissue surface

Torus:
Common bony protuberance on the palate or lower jaw

Transplant:
Placing a natural tooth in the empty socket of another tooth

Trauma:
Injury caused by external force, chemical, temperature extremes, or poor tooth alignment

Trench Mouth:
Gum disease characterized by severe mouth sores and loss of tissue. See ANUG.

UCR:
Usual, customary and reasonable fees

Unerupted Tooth:
A tooth that has not pushed through the gum and assumed its correct position in the dental arch

Veneer:
Plastic or porcelain facing bonded directly to a tooth to improve its appearance. See laminate.

Vertical Dimension:
Arbitrary space between upper and lower jaws upon closure; may decrease over time due to wear, shifting or damage to the teeth

Wisdom teeth:
Third (last) molars that usually erupt at age 18-25 (when "wisdom is attained")

Xerostomia:
Dry mouth or decrease in the production of saliva
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