abscess: a local infection resulting in the collection of pus under pressure. A dental abscess may be caused by severe decay, trauma, or gum disease and will be characterized by swelling and pain. If an abscess ruptures, it will be accompanied by sudden relief from pain and a foul taste in the mouth.
amalgam: a commonly used silver colored filling made of a mix of silver, tin, mercury, and some other trace elements like copper.
bridge: artificial teeth used to replace missing teeth that are attached, usually on both sides, by crowns to adjacent teeth.
bruxism: the rubbing or grinding of teeth usually during sleep.
calculus: hardened plaque otherwise known as tarter.
caries: the medical term for dental decay.
cementum: outer surface of a tooth’s roots.
composite: a tooth colored resin filling materials. Main advantages are is color and ability to strengthen weekend teeth. Disadvantages are that they may shrink, stain, and wear.
crown: a porcelain, or gold cover for a decayed, damaged, brittle, or discolored tooth that has a strong base and roots.
cusps: the peaks on the chewing surface of the back teeth.
extraction: the removal of teeth that are severely decayed, broken, lose, or causing crowding.
gingivitis: inflamed and swollen gum tissue most commonly caused by plaque. If left untreated, may lead to periodontitis.
implant: a titanium cage or screw placed in the bone to replace a lost tooth or teeth. A crown, bridge, or bar and denture can be fixed to the implant(s).
inlay: a gold, porcelain, or composite custom-made filling cemented into the tooth. If it covers the tips of the teeth or otherwise supports the tips it is called an onlay.
maxillae: the upper jaw.
neoplasm: a proliferation of cells that is progressive, purposeless, and interferes with the surrounding tissue.
plaque: a film of material consisting of food particles, bacteria, mold, and dead cells.
porcelain laminate veneer: a thin porcelain shell bonded to the tooth to correct imperfections in shape and color.
prophy: simple cleaning of teeth with rubber wheel and dental toothpaste.
pulp: the center of the tooth consisting of vessels and nerve tissues.
root canal: a procedure used to save an abscessed tooth in which the pulp chamber is cleaned out, disinfected, and filled with a permanent filling.
sealant: plastic coating applied to grooves of teeth to prevent decay.