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Common Dental Terminology

 

 

Abutment: A tooth or implant used to support a prosthesis.

 

Acid Etching: Use of a chemical substance to prepare the enamel surface to provide retention for bonding.

 

Alloplastic: Refers to synthetic materials often used for tissue augmentation.

 

Alveolar: Referring to the bone to which a tooth is attached.

 

Alveoloplasty: Surgical procedure for recontouring alveolar structures, usually in preparation for a prosthesis.

 

Amalgam: An alloy used in dental restorations; always includes mercury.

 

Anterior: Refers to the teeth in the forward part of the mouth--incisors and canines.

 

Apicoectomy: Amputation of the root end of a tooth.

 

Apex: The tip or end of the root of the tooth.

 

Avulsion: Separation of tooth from its socket due to trauma (evulsion).

 

Benign: Not malignant.

 

Biopsy: Process of removing tissue for determination of existence of pathology.

 

Bitewing Radiograph: Interproximal view radiograph of the coronal portion of the tooth.

 

Bridge: Fixed bridge is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth usually cemented to the abutment teeth adjacent to the space; removable bridge (partial denture) is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth on a framework that can be removed by the patient.

 

Bruxism: Involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth.

 

Buccal: Pertaining to or around the cheek.

 

Calculus: Hard deposit of mineralized plaque which is attached to crowns and/or roots of teeth.

 

Canal: A relatively narrow tabular passage or channel; space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue; the passage which transmits vessels and nerves through the jaw which branches are distributed to the teeth.

 

Caries: Correct technical term for decay.

 

Cast: See diagnostic cast or study model.

 

Cavity: Lesion or hole in tooth caused by caries.

 

Cephalometric Radiograph: A radiographic head film used to study the growth of the skull and head.

 

Cement Base: Material used under a filling to replace tooth structure lost by the decay process.

 

Cementum: Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root.

 

Chemical Curettage: Use of a caustic agent to facilitate subgingival and root curettage - see curettage.

 

Closed Reduction: Closing the space between the fractured bone without cutting through soft tissue or surrounding bone.

 

Compound Fracture: Break in bone so that the broken parts protrude through the soft tissue.

 

Coping: A thin covering of the coronal portion of the tooth usually without anatomic conformity. It can be used as a definitive restoration or as part of a transfer procedure.

 

Crown: Part of the tooth that is covered with enamel and normally projects beyond the gingival margin; artificial replacement is called by same name.

 

Crown Lengthening: A surgical procedure exposing more tooth for restorative purposes by apically positioning the gingival margin and.or removing supporting bone.

 

Curettage: Scraping or cleaning the walls of a cavity or gingival pocket.

 

Cusp: Pointed or rounded eminence on or near the masticating surface of a tooth.

 

Debridement: Removal of foreign matter.

 

Decay: The lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure.

 

Deciduous: To fall off or shed; a name used for the primary teeth.

 

Dental Prophylaxis: Scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains.

 

Dentin: That part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum.

 

Denture: An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues.

 

Denture Base: That part of a denture that makes contact with soft tissue and retains the artificial teeth.

 

Diagnostic Cast: Plaster or stone model of teeth and adjoining tissues; also referred to as study model.

 

Direct Pulp Cap: Procedure in which the exposed pulp is covered with a dressing or cement that protects the pulp and promotes healing and repair.

 

Displaced Tooth: A partial evulsion of a tooth-may be mesial, distal, facial, lingual or incisal.

 

Distal: Toward the back of the dental arch (or away from the midline).

 

Dry Socket: Localized inflammation of the tooth socket following extraction due to infection or loss of blood clot.

 

Edentulous: Without teeth.

 

Enamel: Hard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of tooth.

 

Equilibration: Reshaping of the occlusal surfaces of teeth to create harmonious contact relationships between the upper and lower teeth; also known as occlusal adjustment.

 

Evulsion: Complete separation of the tooth from its socket due to trauma (avulsion).

 

Excision: Surgical removal of bone or tissue.

 

Exostosis: Overgrowth of normal bone (see torus).

 

Extracoronal: Outside the crown of a tooth.

 

Exudate: Material such as fluid, cells, or other debris deposited in or on tissues, usually as a result of inflammation or necrosis.

 

Filling: A lay term used for the restoring of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, plastic, or cement.

 

Foramen: Natural opening into or through bone.

 

Fracture: The breaking of a part, especially of a bony structure; breaking of a tooth.

 

Frenum: Muscle fibers covered by a mucous membrane that attaches the cheek, lips and or tongue to associated dental mucosa.

 

Furcation: The anatomic area of a multirooted tooth where the roots diverge.

 

Gingiva: Soft tissues overlaying the crowns of unerupted teeth and encircling the necks of those that have erupted, serving as the supporting structure for sub-adjacent tissues.

 

Gingivitis: Inflammation of gingival tissue.

 

Gingivectomy: The excision or removal of gingiva.

 

Gingivoplasty: Surgical procedure to reshape gingivae to create a normal, functional form.

 

Graft: A piece of tissue or allopathic material placed in contact with tissue to repair a defect or supplement a deficiency.

 

Hemisection: Surgical separation of a multirooted tooth so that one root and the overlaying portion of the crown can be surgically removed.

 

Immediate Denture: Prosthesis constructed for placement immediately after removal of remaining natural teeth.

 

Impacted Tooth: An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely.

 

Implant: Material inserted or grafted into tissue.

 

Implantation, Tooth: Placement of an artificial or natural tooth into a socket.

 

Indirect Pulp Cap: Procedure in which the nearly exposed pulp is covered with a protective dressing to protect the pulp from additional injury and to promote healing and repair via formation of secondary dentin.

 

Intentional Reimplanation: The intentional removal, radicular repair and replacement of a tooth into its own socket.

 

Interproximal: Between the adjoining surfaces of adjacent teeth.

 

Intracoronal: Referring to "within" the crown of a tooth.

 

Intraoral: Inside the mouth.

 

Jaw: A common name for either the maxilla or the mandible.

 

Labial: Pertaining to or around the lip.

 

Lesion: An injury or wound; area of diseased tissue.

 

Lingual: Pertaining to or around the tongue.

 

Malar: Pertaining to the cheek bone.

 

Malignant: Having the properties of dysplasia, invasion, and mestastasis.

 

Malocclusion: Improper alignment of biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth.

 

Mandible: Lower jaw.

 

Mesial: Toward the midline of the dental arch.

 

Moulage: A cast of the face which may be wax or plaster.

 

Mucous Membrane: Lining to the oral cavity as well as other canals and cavities of the body; also called "mucosa."

 

Obturator: A disc or plate which closes an opening; a prosthesis that closes an opening in the palate.

 

Occlusal Radiograph: An intraoral radiograph made with the film being held between the occluded teeth.

 

Occlusion: Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth.

 

Onlay: A restoration that replaces a cusp or cusps of the tooth.

 

Open Reduction: Providing access to a fracture for purposes of anatomic approximation by cutting tissue or surrounding bone.

 

Operculectomy: Removal of the operculum.

 

Operculum: The flap of tissue over an unerupted or partially erupted tooth.

 

Oral: Pertaining to the mouth.

 

Orthognathic: Functional relationship of jaws.

 

Osteoplasty: Surgical procedure that modifies the configuration of bone.

 

Osteotomy: Surgical cutting or transsection of bone.

 

Overdenture: Prosthetic device that is supported by retained roots or implants.

 

Palate: The hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth that separate the oral and nasal cavities.

 

Palliative: Action that relieves pain but is not curative.

 

Panoramic Radiograph: An extraoral radiograph on which the maxilla and mandible are depicted on a single film.

 

Partial Denture: Usually refers to the prosthetic device that replaces the missing teeth on a framework that can be removed by the patient.

 

Periapical: The area surrounding the end of the tooth root.

 

Periapical Radiograph: A radiograph made by the intraoral placement of film for disclosing the apices of the teeth.

 

Pericoronal: Around the crown of a tooth.

 

Periodontal: Pertaining to or around the root of a tooth.

 

Periodontitis: Inflammation of the supporting or surrounding structure of teeth.

 

Periradicular: Surrounding the entire root of the tooth.

 

Plaque: A soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of derivatives from the saliva bacterial products.

 

Pontic: The term used for the artificial tooth on a bridge.

 

Primary Dentition: The first set of teeth; also known as deciduous.

 

Prophylaxis: Scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus and stains.

 

Prosthesis: Artificial replacement of any part of the body; definitive prosthesis - a prosthesis to be used over an extended period of time; interim prosthesis - a provisional prosthesis designed for use over a limited period of time, after which it is to be replaced by a more difinitive restoration.

 

Pulp: The blood vessels and nerve tissue that occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth.

 

Pulp Cavity: The space within a tooth which contains the pulp.

 

Pulpectomy: Complete removal of diseased pulp tissue from the root canal space.

 

Pulpotomy: The removal of the coronal portion of the pulp.

 

Quadrant: One of the four equal sections into which the dental arches can be divided; begins at the midline of the arch and extends distally to the last tooth; usually includes five or more teeth.

 

Radiograph: X-ray.

 

Rebase: Process of refitting a denture by replacing the base material.

 

Reline: Process of resurfacing the tissue side of a denture with a new base material.

 

Replantation, Tooth: The return of a tooth to its socket.

 

Retainer: Orthodontic retainer - appliance to stabilize teeth following orthodontic treatment; prosthodontic retainer - a part of a fixed bridge that attaches a pontic to the abutment tooth.

 

Retrograde Filling: A method of sealing the root canal by preparing and filling it from the root apex.

 

Root: The anatomic portion of the tooth that is covered by cementum and is normally suspended in the alveolus (socket).

 

Root Canal: The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth.

 

Root Canal Therapy: Treatment of the pulp cavity to eliminate perapical disease and to promote healing and repair of periapical tissues.

 

Root Planing: A procedure designed to remove microbial flora, bacterial toxins on the root surface or in the pocket, calculus, and diseased cementum or dentin.

 

Scaling: Removal of plaque, calculus, and stain from teeth.

 

Sialiography: Inspection of the salivary ducts and glands by radiograph after the injection of a radiopaque medium.

 

Splint: A device used to support, protect, or immobilize oral structures that have been loosened, replanted, fractured or traumatized. Also refers to devices used in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders.

 

Stomatitis: Of the membranes of the mouth.

 

Study Model: Plaster or stone model of teeth and adjoining tissues; also referred to as diagnostic cast.

 

Suture: Stitch used to repair incision or wound.

 

Temporary Removable Partial Denture: An interim prosthesis designed for use over limited period of time.

 

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ): The connecting hinge mechanism between the mandible (lower jaw) and base of the skull (temporal bone).

 

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction: Problems with the jaw joint.

 

Torus: A bony elevation or protuberance of normal bone.

 

Transplantation, Tooth: Transfer of a tooth from one socket to another, either in the same or a different person.

 

Unerupted: Teeth that have not penetrated into the oral cavity.

 

Vestibuloplasty: Any of a series of surgical procedures designed to increase relative alveolar ridge height.

 

Zygomatic Bone: Quadrangular bone on either side of face that forms the cheek prominence (see malar).



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