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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.

Calculus

Hard deposit of mineralized material adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth.

Canal

A relatively narrow tubular passage or channel.

  • Root Canal: Space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue.

Caries

Commonly used term for tooth decay.

Cariogenic

Promotes tooth decay.

Cast (or model)

The reproduction of mouth structures made by pouring plaster or stone into a mold.

Cavitron

An ultrasonic cleaning instrument.

Cavity

Decay in tooth caused by caries; also referred to as carious lesion.

Cementum

Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root.

Cleft Lip

Birth defect in which one or more fissures form in the upper lip, which takes place while the fetus is growing.

Cleft Palate

Congenital deformity resulting in lack of fusion of the soft and/or hard palate, either partial or complete.

Clenching

The clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together in centric occlusion, frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort.

Composite

A dental restorative material made up of disparate or separate parts (e.g. resin and quartz particles).

Connective Tissue Graft

A gingival graft using connective tissue as the donor.

Conscious Sedation

A state in which patients are awake and can breathe and swallow on their own but are less aware of what is taking place.

Crown

  • Anatomical Crown: That portion of tooth normally covered by, and including, enamel;
  • Abutment Crown: Artificial crown serving for the retention or support of a dental prosthesis;
  • Artificial Crown: Restoration covering or replacing the major part, or the whole of the clinical crown of a tooth;
  • Clinical Crown: That portion of a tooth not covered by supporting tissues.

Crown Lengthening: A surgical procedure exposing more tooth for restorative purposes by apically positioning the gingival margin and/or removing supporting bone.

Curettage

The removal of diseased tissue from the inner lining of a periodontal pocket.

Cusp

The pointed portion of the tooth.

Cuspid (or canine)

The "eye teeth", found between the laterals and the premolars.

Cyst

Pathological cavity, usually lined with epithelium, containing fluid or soft matter.

DDS

Doctor of Dental Surgery — a degree identical to a DMD.

Debridement

Removing foreign matter or dead tissue.

Decay

The lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure.

Deciduous Dentition

Refers to the deciduous or primary teeth in the dental arch.

Dental Implant

A synthetic device surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to act as a root to hold a dental restoration or appliance.

Dental Prophylaxis

Scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains.

Dental Prosthesis

An artificial device that replaces one or more missing teeth.

Dental Specialist

A dentist who has received postgraduate training in one of the recognized dental specialties.

Dentin

That part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum.

Dentition

The teeth in the dental arch.

Denture

An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues.

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