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Glossary - Oral Health

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Abutment teeth - the surrounding teeth of each side of the gap where teeth are missing.


Bruxism - the condition of incessant grinding and clenching of the teeth, unintentionally, and at inappropriate times.


Composite resins - also know as white fillings, a composite resin is a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide) that is used primarily for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Crown - a "cap" that covers a cracked or broken tooth, unfixed by a filling, to approximate its normal size and shape.


DDS - Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Deciduous teeth - also known as "baby" or primary teeth.

Dental amalgams - also known as silver fillings, dental amalgams are comprised of a mixture of mercury (45 to 50 percent), and an alloy of silver, tin, and copper (50 to 55 percent).

Dental fluorosis - a condition that results from drinking overly fluoridated water that often causes the teeth to become discolored and the enamel of the teeth to look spotted, pitted, or stained.

Dental implants - small dental appliances that are inserted into the upper and lower jaws to replace individual missing teeth or support a denture.

Dental pulp - the soft tissue in the middle of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

Dental sealant - a thin, plastic film that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth - the molars and premolars - to prevent tooth decay.

DMD - Doctor of Dental Medicine.


Endodontist - also called a pulp specialist, a endodontist has undergone specialized training in performing root canal therapy.




Halitosis - an oral health condition characterized by consistently odorous breath.


Internal derangement of the joint - a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, or injury to the condyle (the rounded edges of the jaw).





Malocclusion - an orthodontic problem that means "bad bite," including crowded, missing, or crooked teeth, extra teeth, or a misaligned jaw.

Myofascial pain - the most common form of temporomandibular disorder; discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function and the neck and shoulder muscles.



Oral and maxillofacial surgeon - orthopaedic facial surgeon who is responsible for treating a wide variety of dental problems - including the removal of impacted teeth and reconstructive facial surgery.

Oropharynx - the part of the throat at the back of the mouth.

Orthodontics - orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws.


Pediatric dentist - a specialist in the field of dentistry - dealing particularly with the oral health care of children, from infancy through the teenage years.

Periodontal diseases - also called gum diseases, periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the gums and the surrounding tissues of the mouth.

Periodontist - a specialist in the field of dentistry responsible for the care and prevention of gum-related diseases, guided bone regeneration, and dental implants.

Plaque - a thin, sticky film of bacteria.

Pontic tooth - false tooth.

Porcelain veneers - a ceramic material is bonded to the front of teeth to change the tooth's color, size, and/or shape.

Prosthodontist - a dental specialist who has undergone additional training and certification in the restoration and replacement of broken or missing teeth with crowns, bridges, implants, or removable prosthetics (dentures).





Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) - the two joints that connect the jaw to the skull.







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