Glossary

-A-

Abscess - infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.
Air Abrasion – a decay-removing process that eliminates the need for shots and is free of noise and vibration associated with the drill.
Amalgam - a silver and mercury material used for fillings.
Anesthetic - a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient's localized pain during certain dental procedures.
Anterior - the teeth in the front of your mouth.
Antiseptic - an agent that can be applied to living tissues to destroy germs.
Apex - the very tip of the root of a tooth.
Archwire - A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.
Aspirator - a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth.

-B-

Band (orthodontic) - A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.
Bleaching Agent - a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth.
Bonding- a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage.
Bracket - An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.
Bridge - one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth.
Bruxism - the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping.

-C-

Calculus - the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.
Canine- the pointy teeth just behind the laterals.
Caries - another name for cavities or decayed teeth.
Cavity - a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay.
Central - the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth.
Ceramic brackets - Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.
Crowding - Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.
Crown - an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal.
Cuspid - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines.

-D-

Debanding - The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.
Decalcification - the loss of calcium from the teeth.
Deciduous Teeth - also called "baby teeth."
Dental Implants - an implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth.
Denture - a removable set of artificial teeth.
DIAGNOdent - laser detector that can identify cavities at the earliest stage, even when they do not appear on X-rays.

-E-

Elastics (rubber bands) - Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.
Enamel - the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line.
Endodontist - a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth).
Extraction - the removal of a tooth or teeth.

-F-

Filling - a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity.
Fluoride - a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay.

-G-

Gingiva - The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.
Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth.
Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth.

-H-

Headgear - Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.
Herbst appliance - Fixed or removable appliance designed commonly for overbite problems and more.

-I-

Imaging - The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions.
Impacted Tooth - often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requiring extraction.
Incisal - related to incisors (see below).
Incisor - one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth.
Inlays - a custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth.
Instant Orthodontics - alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns.

-L-

Lateral - these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals.
Lingual - Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.
Lingual appliances - Orthodontic appliances fixed to the lingual surface of the teeth.

-M-

Maxillary - Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

-N-

Night Guard - a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ.

-O-

Orthodontist - A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.
Orthognathic surgery - Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.
Overbite - Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

-P-

Pedontist - also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children's teeth.
Periodontist - a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease.
Plaque - a sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Posterior Teeth - the teeth in the back of the mouth.
Primary Teeth - also known as "baby teeth" or deciduous teeth.
Prosthodontist - a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth or severely damaged teeth.

-R-

Radiograph - A permanent image, typically on film, produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.
Retainer - Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.Retention - The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.
Root - the portion of the tooth below your gum line.
Root Canal - cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed.

-S-

Sealant - plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children.
Secondary Teeth - the permanent teeth.
Six-Year Molar - commonly known as "the first molar."
Sleep Apnea - a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night.
Straight wire appliance - A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.

-T-

Tartar - see calculus.
TMJ Syndrome - a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw. Often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.
Tooth Whitening - a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth.
Twelve-Year Molar - commonly known as "the second molar."

-V-

Veneer - a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth.

-W-

Wand - system that emits a balanced flow of anesthetic through the tissue, resulting in better patient comfort.

  
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