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A


Abrasion


Tooth wear caused by forces other than chewing, such as holding objects between the teeth or improper brushing.

Abutment


A tooth (or implant) that supports a dental prosthesis.

Alveolar bone


The part of the jaw that surrounds the roots of the teeth.

Alveolar process

The curving part of the jaw into which the teeth are rooted.

Alveolus

The socket in the alveolar bone into which the tooth’s root fits.

Amalgam


An alloy used in direct dental restorations.

Analgesia


Loss of pain sensations without loss of consciousness.

Ankylosis

A condition where two hard tissues are fused together.

General Anesthesia

A controlled state of unconsciousness, accompanied by a partial or complete loss of  protective reflexes, including loss of ability to independently maintain airway and respond purposefully to  physical stimulation or verbal command, produced by a pharmacologic or non-pharmacologic method or combination thereof;

Intravenous Sedation/Analgesia

A medically controlled state of depressed consciousness while maintaining the patient’s airway, protective reflexes and the ability to respond to stimulation or verbal commands. It includes intravenous administration of sedative and/or analgesic agent(s) and appropriate monitoring.

Local Anesthesia

The loss of pain sensation over a specific area of the anatomy without loss of consciousness.

Non-Intravenous Conscious Sedation

A medically controlled state of depressed consciousness while maintaining the patient’s airway, protective reflexes and the ability to respond to stimulation or verbal commands.

Regional Anesthesia

A term used for local anesthesia.

B


Bicuspid


A premolar tooth; a tooth with two cusps.

Bilateral


Occurring on, or pertaining to, both right and left sides.

Biopsy


Process of removing tissue for histologic evaluation.

Bitewing radiographs


X-rays used to reveal the crowns of several upper and lower teeth as they bite down.

Bleaching

A cosmetic dental procedure that whitens the teeth using a bleaching solution.

Bonding


A composite resin applied to a tooth to change its shape and/or color. Bonding also refers to how a filling, orthodontic appliance or some fixed partial dentures are attached to teeth.

Bruxism


Constant grinding or clenching of teeth during the day or while asleep.


C


Calculus


Hard deposit of mineralized material adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth.

Canal


A relatively narrow tubular passage or channel.

Root Canal

Space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue.

Cariogenic


Promotes tooth decay.

Caries


Commonly used term for tooth decay.

Cavity


Decay in tooth caused by caries; also referred to as carious lesion.

Cementum


Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root.

Cleft Palate


Congenital deformity resulting in lack of fusion of the soft and/or hard palate, either partial or complete.

Clenching


The clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together in centric occlusion, frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort.

Composite


A dental restorative material made up of disparate or separate parts (e.g. resin and quartz particles).

Conscious Sedation


A state in which patients are awake and can breathe and swallow on their own but are less aware of what is taking place.

Crown

That portion of tooth normally covered by, and including, enamel.

Cusp


The pointed portion of the tooth.

Cyst


Pathological cavity, usually lined with epithelium, containing fluid or soft matter.


D


Debridement

Removing foreign matter or dead tissue.

Decay


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

Dental Prophylaxis


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

Dental Prosthesis


An artificial device that replaces one or more missing teeth.

Dentin


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

Dentition


The teeth in the dental arch.
    •    Permanent Dentition
Refers to the permanent teeth in the dental arch.
    •    Deciduous Dentition
Refers to the deciduous or primary teeth in the dental arch.

Denture


An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues.

Direct Restoration


A restoration fabricated inside the mouth.

Dry Socket


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

E


Enamel


Hard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of tooth.

Endodontist


A dental specialist who limits his or her practice to treating disease and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions.

Erosion

Wearing down of tooth structure, caused by chemicals (acids).

Eruption

When a tooth emerges or pushes through the gums.

Excision


Surgical removal of bone or tissue.

Extraction


The process or act of removing a tooth or tooth parts.

F


Filling


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

Fixed Appliances


Orthodontic devices, commonly known as braces, that are bonded to the teeth to produce different tooth movements to help reposition teeth for orthodontic therapy.

Fixed Partial Denture


A prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or attached to the abutment teeth or implant abutments adjacent to the space.

Fracture


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

G


General Anesthesia


A deep level of sedation in which patients lose consciousness, feel no pain, and have no memory of what is taking place around them.

Gingiva

Soft tissues overlying the crowns of unerupted teeth and encircling the necks of those that have erupted.

Gingival Hyperplasia

An overgrowth of gingival tissues.

Gingivitis


Inflammation of gingival tissue without loss of connective tissue.

I


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.

Implantation, Tooth


Placement of an artificial or natural tooth into an alveolus.

Inlay


An indirect intracoronal restoration; a dental restoration made outside of the oral cavity to correspond to the form of the prepared cavity, which is then luted into the tooth.

Intravenous Sedation


Medications used intravenously (through the bloodstream) to produce varying levels of sedation.

J


Jaw


A common name for either the maxilla or the mandible.

L


Labial


Pertaining to or around the lip.

M


Maintenance, Periodontal


Therapy for preserving the state of health of the periodontium.

Malignant


Having the properties of dysplasia, invasion, and metastasis.

Malocclusion


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

Maxilla


The upper jaw.

Molar


Teeth posterior to the premolars (bicuspids) on either side of the jaw.

Mouthguard

Device that fits over the teeth to prevent injury to the teeth, mouth or lips.

O

Occlusion


Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth.

Onlay


An indirect restoration made outside the oral cavity that overlays a cusp or cusps of the tooth, which is then luted to the tooth.

Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon


A dental specialist whose practice is limited to the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, deformities, defects and esthetic aspects of the oral and maxillofacial regions.

Oral Mucosa


The pink-red tissues that line the mouth.

Orthodontist


A dental specialist whose practice is limited to the interception and treatment of malocclusion of the teeth and their surrounding structures.

Orthognathic Surgery


Surgery performed to correct facial imbalances caused by abnormalities of the jaw bones.

Overdenture


A removable prosthetic device that overlies and may be supported by retained tooth roots or implants.

P


Palate


The hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth that separates the oral and nasal cavities.

Palliative


Action that relieves pain but is not curative.

Pediatric Dentist


A dental specialist whose practice is limited to treatment of children from birth through adolescence; formerly known as a pedodontist.

Periapical X-Ray

An x-ray that shows several entire teeth (crowns and roots) and includes a small amount of the periapical bone (surrounding the root tips).

Periodontal Disease


Inflammatory process of the gingival tissues and/or periodontal membrane of the teeth, resulting in an abnormally deep gingival sulcus, possibly producing periodontal pockets and loss of supporting alveolar bone.

Periodontist


A dental specialist whose practice is limited to the treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.

Plaque


A soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives.

Prophylaxis


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

Prosthodontist


A dental specialist whose practice is limited to the restoration of the natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth with artificial substitutes.

Pulp


Connective tissue that contains blood vessels and nerve tissue which occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth.

R


Radiograph

An image produced by projecting radiation, as x-rays, on photographic film. Commonly called x-ray.

Ranula


A cyst that can develop under the tongue on the floor of the mouth.

Removable Partial Denture


A prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth that can be removed by the patient.

Retainer

    •    Orthodontic Retainer: Appliance to stabilize teeth following orthodontic
treatment.
    •    Prosthodontic Retainer: A part of a fixed partial denture that attaches a
pontic to the abutment tooth, implant abutment, or implant.

Root


The anatomic portion of the tooth that is covered by cementum and is located in the alveolus (socket) where it is attached by the periodontal apparatus; radicular portion of tooth.

Root Canal


The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth; the chamber within the root of the tooth that contains the pulp.

S


Sealants


Plastic resin placed on the biting surfaces of molars to prevent bacteria from attacking the enamel and causing caries.

Stomatitis

Inflammation of the membranes in the mouth.

Suture


Stitch used to repair incision or wound.

T


Temporomandibular (TMJ)


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

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction


Abnormal functioning of temporomandibular joint; also refers to symptoms arising in other areas secondary to the dysfunction.

U


Unerupted


Tooth/teeth that have not penetrated into the oral cavity

V

Veneer


In the construction of crowns or pontics, a layer of tooth-colored material, usually, but not limited to, composite, porcelain, ceramic or acrylic resin, attached to the surface by direct fusion, cementation, or mechanical retention; also refers to a restoration that is luted to the facial surface of a tooth.