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Glossary

-A-

Abscess - infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.

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.

Aspirator - a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth.

-B-

Bleaching Agent - a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth.

Bonding - a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage.

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.

Crown - an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal.

Cuspid - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines.

-D-

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.

-E-

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-

Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth.

Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth.

-I-

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.

-N-

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

-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-

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.

-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.