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Glossary of Terms

Source: American Dental Association

Dr. Orobitg wants you to understand the terms associated with your dental health. Education is very important to us, and we encourage you to ask questions about anything involved in your dental care you might not understand.

Maxilla

The upper jaw.

Molars

The back teeth used for grinding food, including the 6 and 12-year molars and the wisdom teeth.

Mouth Guard

Device that fits over the teeth to prevent injury to the teeth, mouth or lips. May also refer to a device that prevents tooth grinding or treats temporomandibular disorders.

Mucogingival Junction

The meeting of the attached gingival and the alveolar mucosa.

Mucous Membrane

Lining of the oral cavity as well as other canals and cavities of the body; also called “mucosa.”

Night Guard

An appliance worn at night to reduce tooth wear and temporomandibular damage caused by grinding or clenching the teeth during sleep.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

A disorder in which breathing stops for short periods of time during sleep.

Occlusal

Pertaining to the biting surfaces of the premolar and molar teeth or contacting surfaces of opposing teeth or opposing occlusion rims.

Occlusion

Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth.

Onlay

An indirect restoration made outside the oral cavity that overlays a cusp or cusps of the tooth, which is then cemented to the tooth.

Oral

Pertaining to the mouth.

Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon

A dental specialist whose practice is limited to the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, deformities, defects and esthetic aspects of the oral and maxillofacial regions.

Oral Mucosa

The pink-red tissues that line the mouth.

Orthodontist

A dental specialist whose practice is limited to the interception and treatment of malocclusion of the teeth and their surrounding structures.

Orthognathic Surgery

Surgery performed to correct facial imbalances caused by abnormalities of the jaw bones.

Osseointegration

The process by which bone heals around an implant.

Osteoplasty

Surgical procedure that modifies the configuration of bone.

Osteotomy

Surgical cutting of bone.

Overdenture

A removable prosthetic device that overlies and may be supported by retained tooth roots or implants.

Palate

The hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth that separates the oral and nasal cavities.

Palliative

Action that relieves pain but is not curative.

Parotid Glands

Major salivary glands located in front of and below the ears.

Partial Denture

Usually refers to a prosthetic device that replaces missing teeth; see Fixed Partial Denture or Removable Partial Denture.

Patient

An individual who has established a professional relationship with a dentist for the delivery of dental health care. For matters relating to communication of information and consent, this term includes the patient’s parent, caretaker, guardian, or other individual as appropriate under state law and the circumstances of the case.

Pediatric Dentist

A dental specialist whose practice is limited to treatment of children from birth through adolescence; formerly known as a pedodontist.

Pellicle

A thin nonbacterial film from saliva that covers the teeth.

Periapical X-Ray

An x-ray that shows several entire teeth (crowns and roots) and includes a small amount of the periapical bone (surrounding the root tips).

Periodontal

Pertaining to the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.

Periodontal Abscess

An infection in the gum pocket that can destroy hard and soft tissues.

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