Glossary

Group_Kids_2.jpgLearn to Speak Our Language!

As the leading pediatric dentist for the Montgomery and Wetumpka areas, we at Dentistry for Children want our patients (and their parents!) to feel comfortable and at-ease while visiting our office. To help you better understand some common problems and procedures we practice, we've put together this handy glossary of dental terms you might hear when speaking with your children's dentist. Please don't hesitate to ask Dr. Schreiber, Dr. Cumbus or anyone else on our team for clarification of any terms they may use. We're here to help make your kid's dentistry experience as pleasant and fun as possible!

-A-

Abscess - infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.

Amalgam - a silver and mercury material used for fillings.

Anesthetic - a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient's localized pain during certain dental procedures.

Anterior - the teeth in the front of your mouth.

Antiseptic - an agent that can be applied to living tissues to destroy germs.

Apex - the very tip of the root of a tooth.

Aspirator - a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth.

-B-

Bleaching Agent - a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth.

Bonding - a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage.

Bridge - one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth.

Bruxism - the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping.

-C-

Calculus - the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.

Canine - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals.

Caries - another name for cavities or decayed teeth.

Cavity - a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay.

Central - the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth.

Crown - an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal.

Cuspid - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines.

-D-

Decalcification - the loss of calcium from the teeth.

Deciduous Teeth - also called "baby teeth."

Dental Implants - an implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth.

Denture - a removable set of artificial teeth.

DIAGNOdent - laser detector that can identify cavities at the earliest stage, even when they do not appear on X-rays.

-E-

Enamel - the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line.

Endodontist - a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth).

Extraction - the removal of a tooth or teeth.

-F-

Filling - a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity.

Fluoride - a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay.

-G-

Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth.

Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth.

-I-

Impacted Tooth - often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requiring extraction.

Incisal - related to incisors (see below).

Incisor - one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth.

Inlays - a custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth.

Instant Orthodontics - alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns.

-L-

Lateral - these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals.

-N-

Night Guard - a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ.

-P-

Pedontist - also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children's teeth.

Periodontist - a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease.

Plaque - a sticky build-up of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Posterior Teeth - the teeth in the back of the mouth.

Primary Teeth - also known as "baby teeth" or deciduous teeth.

Prosthodontist - a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth or severely damaged teeth.

-R-

Root - the portion of the tooth below your gum line.

Root Canal - cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed.

-S-

Sealant - plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children.

Secondary Teeth - the permanent teeth.

Six-Year Molar - commonly known as "the first molar."

Sleep Apnea - a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night.

-T-

Tartar - see calculus.

TMJ Syndrome - a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw. Often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.

Tooth Whitening - a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth.

Twelve-Year Molar - commonly known as "the second molar."

-V-

Veneer - a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth.

-W-

Wand - system that emits a balanced flow of anesthetic through the tissue, resulting in better patient comfort.

Schedule an Appointment for Your Child Today!

The Dentistry for Children team guarantees you that we will always discuss options, procedures and costs with you before undergoing any treatments to ensure your comfort and trust in our practice. We are always here to answer any questions you may have about the terms presented above or to help you to schedule your child's appointment. Give us a call today!