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Dental Terminology and Definitions
The teeth on either side of a missing tooth. Abutments
are the part of the bridge used to support the replacement of the missing teeth
A type of tooth filling made of silver and mercury. The metalic mixture is initially soft so that it can be molded to fit the tooth and gradually hardens.
Usually placed on the back teeth (posterior teeth).
Substances used to remove the effects of pain.
The front teeth (incisors and cupids).
The upper or lower jaw.
See Posterior Teeth
The first and second bicuspids, those are the fourth and fifth teeth from the center of the
mouth to the back of the mouth. These are the back teeth that are used for
chewing, they only have two points (cusps).
X-ray that shows the upper and lower teeth's biting surfaces on the same film. This x-ray
shows the portion of the teeth above the gumline.
A fixed appliance (prosthesis) that replaces missing teeth. A bridge is a series
of crowns (abutments and pontics).
Clenching or grinding of the teeth.
Tooth surface next to the cheek.
The sticky film on your teeth (plaque) that has hardened. Also known as tartar.
The narrow chamber inside the root of the tooth that contains the nerve and blood vessels.
Correct technical term for cavities or decay.
Calcified tissue covering the root surface.
See Full Mouth X-rays.
Tooth colored filling. Insurance companies usually only allow them on the front teeth
(anterior teeth). When composites are done on the back teeth (posterior teeth)
the insurance company usually pays them as an amalgam. Composites are also known
as resin fillings.
An artificial "top" made of porcelain, composite, or metal that is cemented on top of damaged teeth.
A crown is usually made when the tooth cannot be restored by a filling.
Surgical scraping of bacteria from the soft tissue. This is a periodontal procedure and
is usually performed one quadrant at a time. Procedure code 4220.
The high points on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (posterior
The third tooth from the center of the mouth to the back of the mouth. These are the front teeth
that have one rounded or pointed edge used for biting. Also known as canines.
See Primary Teeth.
The main tissues of a tooth surrounding the pulp cavity.
A removable appliance (prosthesis) that replaces all of the teeth in either the upper or
Procedures performed by the dentist to identify what's going on in the mouth. The most
common procedures you will deal with are the exam and x-rays classifies as
All the teeth are missing in either the upper or lower arch.
The hard, calcified substance which covers the crown of the tooth.
The treatment of diseases or injuries that affect the root tip or
nerve of the tooth. The most common procedure that you will deal with is a root canal.
Topical application of a gel or liquid that prevents decay.
See Full Mouth X-rays.
See Anterior Teeth.
Full Mouth x-rays (F.M.X.):
X-rays showing all the teeth. Includes 14 periapicals and 2 or 4 bitewings. Also known
as a complete series.
Relieves the sensation of pain on the whole body. General anesthesia renders you
An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that will not fully erupt because it is obstructed by
another tooth, bone, or soft tissue.
A post that is implanted in the bone. A crown, bridge or denture is then placed over the implant.
The centraland lateral incisor, those are the first and second teeth from the center of the
mouth to the back of the mouth. These are the front teeth with the flat edges
A laboratory processed restoration made of metal, acrylic or porcelain. This filling does not
involve the high points of the tooth (cusps).
Relieves the sensation of pain in a localized area.
The lower jaw.
The upper jaw.
The first, second and third molars, those are the sixth, seventh and eighth teeth from the
center of the mouth to the back of the mouth. The back teeth with the large
chewing surface on top. They have 4 points (cusps).
A removable acrylic appliance to minimize the effects of grinding the teeth (bruxism) or
joint problems (T.M.J.). Usually worn at night to prevent the grinding of teeth
or relieve joint pain. Also known as an occlusal guard.
The chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
A laboratory processed restoration made of metal, porcelain or acrylic that
replaces one or more of the highest points of the tooth (cusps).
Oral Surgery (O.S.):
Surgery of the mouth.
Straightening of the teeth.
See Oral Surgery.
language for a periapical. See Periapical.
Roof of the mouth.
An x-ray taken outside of the mouth that shows all the teeth on one film.
A removable appliance (prosthesis) that replaces some of the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.
The treatment of children's teeth.
An x-ray that shows the whole tooth (above and below the gumline). Also known as a single film or P.A.
Measures the depth that the gums have detached from the side of the tooth forming a
pocket (perio pocket).
Cleaning of the teeth following periodontal treatment, includes perio
charting. Procedure code 4910. Also known as a perio prophy or perio recall.
The treatment of diseases of the gum or bone (supporting structure).
that forms when the gums detach from the side of the tooth.
See Periodontal Maintenance.
See Periodontal Maintenance.
Permanent First And Second Molars:
The adult first and second molars, they are the sixth and seventh teeth from
the center of the mouth to the back of the mouth. Does not include the third
molar (wisdom tooth).
The adult first, second and third molars.
See Permanent Teeth.
The adult teeth. Also known as the permanent dentition.
A sticky film on
the teeth. If it is not removed by brushing it can harden into calculus.
The part of a bridge that replaces the missing teeth.
The back teeth (Bicuspids and molars).
Procedure performed to prevent decay and gum disease. The procedures that Trojan
classifies as preventive are the exam, x-rays and prophys. The exam and x-rays
are also known as diagnostic procedures.
See Primary Teeth.
The baby teeth. Also known as the primary dentition. The baby teeth are replaced by the
adult teeth (permanent teeth)
Cleaning the teeth. Also known as a prophy.
A fixed or removable appliance to replace missing teeth. Example: bridges, dentures and
partials. Sometimes single crowns are considered prosthetics.
How old does the crown, bridge, partial or denture have to be before it can be
replaced? They usually must be unserviceable also.
Dealing with the replacement of missing teeth.
One of the four equal sections of the mouth. The upper right, upper left, lower right or
the lower left.
See Root Canal Therapy.
See Composite Filling.
Procedures performed to restore the missing part of the teeth. Some insurance companies
only consider the fillings to be restorative, others consider the fillings,
crowns, bridges and dentures to be restorative.
Root Canal Therapy (R.C.T.):
The nerve of the tooth is removed from the canal inside the root and
replaced with a filling material
Deep cleaning of the teeth to remove calculus below the gumline. This is not a
prophylaxis. This is a periodontal procedure and is usually performed one
quadrant at a time. Procedure code 4341.
Clear application of acrylic placed over the biting surface of the tooth to prevent
decay. Most insurance companies only allow these on permanent teeth.
The normal space between the gum tissue and the tooth.
Temporomandibular Joint (T.M.J.):
Temporo (temporal bone), mandibular (lower jaw). This is the connecting hinge
between the lower jaw and base of the skull. Also known as T.M.J.. T.M.J.
treatment is sometimes paid under medical.
See Wisdom Tooth.
See Temporomandibular Joint.
A porcelain facing placed on an anterior tooth.
Teeth that have no decay or fillings.
The third molar, this is the eighth tooth from the center of mouth to the back of the
mouth. Wisdom teeth are often impacted (obstructed from erupting) and have to be
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