Dental Glossary to Help At Your Next Visit

Posted on: February 2, 2018

If you have an upcoming appointment with your dentist, a dental glossary will help you know your frenum from your gingiva. This glossary will help you understand what your dentist is saying during your appointment so that it is easier for you to understand problems you are experiencing and the available treatment options:

Helpful Dental Terms

Apicoectomy: This is the surgical removal of a root tip, usually performed when a tooth previously treated with a root canal has become infected

Abrasion: This is damage to your tooth due to brushing too hard or using a highly abrasive toothpaste

Bitewing: X-ray of your teeth to help detect tooth decay that forms between the teeth

Bleaching: A whitening technique that helps lighten the color of stained teeth

Bonding: A white filling material that is applied to teeth to change their shape or color

Bruxism: The involuntary habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. Signs of bruxism include flat, worn teeth, and can sometimes be associated with muscle pain and headaches

Calculus: Also known as tartar, a hard mineral deposit that adheres to the tooth and can only be removed by a scaling procedure

Crown: Sometimes referred to as a cap, this is a protective cover that wraps around the entire tooth, protecting a tooth that was previously damaged by decay or fracture

Curretage: Removal of diseased tissues from periodontal pockets

Dentin: The inner layer of your tooth's structure immediately under the surface enamel

Extraction: The process of removing all or part of the tooth

Filling: The material used to restore the structure of your damaged tooth, usually made of metal, porcelain, or plastic

Frenum: A small fold of tissue that connects your lips and tongue to your gums

Gingiva: Also called gums. These are the soft tissues that fold around your teeth and are the first area where a gum infection starts

Gingivitis: A disease where the gum tissues are inflamed and bleed easily. It is caused by inadequate oral hygiene and failure to remove all plaque from the tooth. It is a reversible disease with proper oral hygiene

Gingivectomy: Surgical reshaping or removal of gum tissues

Malocclusion: This is a condition in which the top and bottom teeth are not lined up well. Malocclusion makes it harder to bite or chew properly and can lead to cracked, damaged, or broken teeth if not corrected

Maxilla: Upper jaw

Mandible: Lower jaw

Nightguard: This is a removable acrylic appliance that you wear at night to reduce the effects of grinding your teeth

Periodontitis: Also known as gum disease. Periodontitis is a non-reversible chronic inflammation of the gums that leads to destruction of the ligaments and bone that hold the tooth in place, and eventually leads to tooth loss

Plaque: A sticky substance that coats your teeth and harbors growth of bacteria. The easiest way to prevent plaque buildup is to brush and floss your teeth two times daily

Pulp: The innermost part of your tooth where the nerve and blood supply are found

Retainer: An appliance that is placed in your mouth to help maintain the position of your teeth following orthodontic treatment

Root canal: This is a procedure that removes all the pulp and soft tissues from a severely infected tooth

Scaling: This is a procedure that removes plaque and tartar from your teeth

Temporomandibular Joint: The joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull

Temporomandibular Joint Disease: Also known as TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder. This is a disease of the temporomandibular joint and the surrounding structures associated with the joint, including the muscles and teeth. Symptoms of TMD include clicking, popping, pain while eating, chewing or talking.

Xerostomia: Dry mouth or decrease in saliva production. This condition can cause bad breath and an increase in decay

Call (231) 935-1948 to schedule an appointment with Cherry Bay Dental in our Traverse City dental office.


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