At Ben Swindley Dental the quality of your experience is of utmost importance to us. To help you get the most out of your visits to the dentist we have compiled a list of common dental terms that you can refer to.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every dental term but a useful reference put together for you to aid your understanding.
Removal of part of tooth structure often due to incorrect brushing method.
A collection point of pus. Usually forms because of infection; an abscess is the bodies attempt at containment.
A tooth or structure which is used to anchor a bridge or a denture.
An alloy material usually containing mercury. In the past it was the main material used for filling cavities.
An agent that causes temporary numbness.
The front position.
The end of the root.
State of being free from bacteria and disease-causing microbes.
Wear of teeth due to activities such as chewing.
A type of dental x-ray which is taken with the teeth biting together. Bitewing x-rays are used to show decay between the teeth and also reveal bone loss, which cannot be seen in a visual examination.
Whitening of teeth using mild bleaching agents.
A type of tooth replacement which is fixed inside the mouth to adjacent teeth.
A form of hardened dental plaque also called tartar. It provides an ideal breeding ground for more plaque.
The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are four canine teeth also called eye teeth.
An ulcer inside the mouth. Shows as a painful open sore.
A hole in the tooth or a breakdown of the tooth enamel caused by acid erosion.
A model of a set of teeth or an individual tooth.
The process of applying an adherent to make a bond between two structures.
eg. Cement porcelain crown to tooth with gi cement
A chemical antiseptic that kills bacteria. It is often an ingredient in mouthwash.
A type of Herpes simplex. Shows as a blister or sore on or around the lips
White resin filling.
The branch of dentistry dealing with the appearance of the teeth.
An irregular bite alignment of upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth/tooth align toward the check/ lip side more than the upper teeth/tooth.
A crown is a cap-like structure on a tooth. It covers the tooth partially or totally above the gum to restore its function and improve appearance.
A decomposing part of the tooth.
A branch of medicine that involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of any disease or disorders pertaining to teeth, mouth, and associated structures.
The position, type, and number of teeth in upper and lower jaw.
An artificial object to replace missing teeth and their neighbouring structures. There are many different types of denture to satisfy different treatment requirements and patient preferences.
A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.
The process of identifying dental disease and its cause.
The space in between two adjacent teeth.
Having no teeth. If some teeth are missing you are said have partial edentulism
A hard brittle substance covering the visible portion of the tooth
A branch of dentistry that specialises in the tooth pulp and the surrounding tissues. Endodontic literally means ‘inside the tooth’.
The process of the tooth appearing in the mouth.
The action of cutting something off.
A material used to help restore the function and appearance of a broken or decayed tooth.
A thread or tape used for cleaning in between teeth.
A compound of fluorine (an element) which is added to water, gels, and rinses to strengthen teeth.
Treating teeth with fluoride agents to help prevent tooth decay.
Inflammation of the gum. The gums may be sore, bleed easily and appear soft, puffy and swollen.
Abnormal blood flow
A condition where a tooth is not able to come through the gum normally and becomes stuck beneath another tooth, bone or soft tissue.
An artificial replacement for a tooth root. Often in the form of a rod or screw-like device, it is inserted into the jaw bone to support a false tooth, a denture or a bridge.
A copy of the mouth made using an elastic material. It is in negative and is used in the construction of various dental replacement parts.
The four upper and lower front teeth.
A filling made of a solid substance (usually gold or ceramic) that is fitted into a cavity and cemented into place to restore the normal function and appearance of the tooth.
The space in between two adjacent teeth.
The side of the tooth towards the tongue.
Misaligned teeth that don’t meet properly when the jaw is closed
The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw.
The last 3 upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.
A device designed to be worn in the mouth to prevent injury to teeth and/or jaw while playing sport or as a result of teeth grinding.
A mouthguard which is worn at night time.
The biting surface of the back teeth.
A firmer stiffer version of a mouthguard worn at night to help prevent damage to teeth by clenching and by grinding (bruxism)
The way in which the upper and lower teeth close together.
A restoration that covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.
The situation in which the upper teeth are not able to contact the opposing lower teeth.
A special field in dentistry which involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities.
The overlap of upper teeth and lower teeth when they close together.
The portion of filling material that hangs beyond the border of the cavity.
The branch of dentistry that deals with the care and treatment of children’s teeth.
The roof of the mouth.
An x-ray image that captures the wide view of upper and lower jaw and their associated structures.
An opening on a tooth or other oral structure.
The surrounding of the bottom of the root of a tooth.
A branch of dentistry that specialises in diseases of the gums and other structures around the teeth.
Adult teeth. The first permanent tooth usually appears around the age of 6. Typically it is one of the incisors (front teeth).
A serrated metal pin with a coating of silver or titanium used for better retention of a filling.
A sticky colourless deposit continually forming on the teeth. This deposit is a film of micro-organisms. The acid produced by these micro-organisms can cause tooth and gum decay.
A process to make the tooth or filling or other denture smooth and glossy. The purpose of polishing is to make it difficult for plaque to adhere to the surface of the tooth.
The false tooth in a bridge or denture installed to replace a missing tooth.
A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal or carbon. Its function usually is to support a big restoration on a tooth.
Located at the back.
Medication that needs to be taken before treatment.
The two teeth located between the canine and molar teeth.
A written statement (from a doctor to a pharmacist) regarding the type, the amount and direction of the use of a medication for a patient. In dentistry, prescription can also be a written statement on preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician.
The use of procedures and treatments to promote oral health and prevent disease.
Procedures in which the primary role is the prevention of disease. E.g: cleaning.
An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures. Eg: implant, bridge or denture.
The person who specialises in construction of dentures. The denturist does not diagnose problems or carry out any treatments (e.g. Removing teeth).
A special branch of dentistry that involves diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.
The inner most part of a tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.
The removal of the whole pulp inside a tooth.
The removal of the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.
An x-ray image.
The regular check-up and teeth cleaning appointment.
The process of reattaching a tooth restoration.
An item a dentist uses to restore the normal function of a tooth or an area in the mouth. It can be a filling, a crown, or a bridge, etc.
Dentistry techniques used to correct or fix impaired teeth, gums and supporting structures.
A device used for maintaining the position of teeth in the jaw.
The process of repeating a root canal treatment.
The bottom part of a tooth. It anchors the tooth to its supporting structures.
A naturally occurring space or canal inside the root of the tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels and pulp.
Root canal treatment
A procedure to eliminate infection harboured within the root canal and protect the tooth from further contamination.
The action of cleaning the root area of a tooth.
A rubber sheet that fits around the teeth. It isolates the treatment area from the rest of the oral cavity for hygiene purposes.
The action of removing plaque and calculus from the teeth.
A thin layer of plastic-like material covers the grooves and pits on a tooth to prevent cavities.
The use of medication to calm down a patient.
An appliance to maintain the space in between teeth.
An adaption to prevent movement of a loose tooth or teeth.
Bone, ligaments, gum and cementum (part of the tooth itself) collectively make up the supportive structure that keeps the tooth in position and allows us to feel the sensations of touch and pressure on the tooth.
Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ)
The joint that links the upper and lower jaws.
A layer of tooth-coloured material (can be porcelain, composite, or ceramics) attached to the front of the teeth to improve their appearance .
The eighth (also the last) tooth from the middle of the jaw. Most adults have four wisdom teeth. They usually begin to appear between ages 17 and 25.
Dry mouth due to lack of saliva.