Dental Terminology

A B C D E G I M O P R V W

ABSCESS
Acute or chronic, localized inflammation, with a collection of pus, associated with tissue destruction and, frequently, swelling.

ABUTMENT
A tooth or implant used to support a prosthesis.

ACID ETCHING
Use of an acidic chemical substance to prepare the tooth enamel surface to provide retention for bonding.

ADHESIVE
Any substance that joins or creates close adherence of two or more surfaces.

ALVEOLAR
Referred to the bone to which a tooth is attached.

ALVEOLOPLASTY
Surgical procedure for recontouring alveolar structures, usually in preparation for prosthesis.

AMALGAM
An alloy used in direct dental restorations.

ANALGESIA
Loss of pain sensations without loss of consciousness.

ANESTHESIA
Partial or total absence of sensation to stimuli.

ANTERIOR
Refers to the teeth and tissues located towards the front of the mouth – maxillary and mandibular incisors and canines.

APEX
The tip or end of the root end of the tooth.

AVULSION
Separation of tooth from its socket due to trauma (evulsion).

BONDING
Process by which two or more components are made integral by mechanical and/or chemical adhesion at their interface.

BRIDGE
A fixed partial denture which is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or attached to the abutment teeth or implant abutments adjacent to the space; removable partial denture (removable bridge) is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth on a framework that can be removed by the patient.

CALCULUS
Hard deposit of mineralized plaque that is attached to crowns and/or roots of teeth.

CANAL
A relatively narrow tubular passage or channel; space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue; the passage which transmits vessels and nerves through the jaw to branches that distributes them to the teeth.

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

CEMENT BASE
Material used under a filling to replace lost tooth structure.

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

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

DECIDUOUS
To fall off or shed; a name used for the primary teeth.

DENTURE
An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues.

DENTURE BASE
That part of a denture that makes contact with soft tissue and retains the artificial teeth.

DISPLACED TOOTH
A partial evulsion of a tooth-may be mesial, distal, facial, lingual or incisal.

ENAMEL
Hard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of tooth.

ENDODONTIST
A dental specialist who limits his/her practice to treating disease and injuries of the pulp and associated perpendicular conditions.

EVULSION
Complete separation of the tooth from its socket due to trauma (avulsion).
 

GINGIVA
Soft tissues overlying the crowns of unerupted teeth and encircling the necks of those that have erupted, serving as the supporting structure for sub-adjacent tissues.

GINGIVITIS
A common and mild form of gum (periodontal) disease causing irritation, redness and swelling of the gums.

IMPACTED TOOTH
An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely.

IMPLANT
Material inserted or grafted into tissue; dental implant – device specially designed to be placed surgically within or on the mandibular or maxillary bone as a means of providing for dental replacement; endosteal (endosseous); eposteal (subperiosteal); transosteal (transosseous).

IMPLANTATION, TOOTH
Placement of an artificial or natural tooth into an alveolus.

INLAY
An intracoronal restoration; a dental restoration made outside of the oral cavity to correspond to the form of the prepared cavity, which is then luted into the tooth.

MAINTENANCE, PERIODONTAL
Therapy for preserving the state of health of the periodontium.

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

ONLAY
A restoration made outside the oral cavity that replaces a cusp or cusps of the tooth, which is then luted to the tooth; metallic onlays have intracoronal designs while resin onlays may not have intracoronal designs.

ORAL PATHOLOGY
The specialty of dentistry and pathology concerned with recognition, diagnosis, investigation and management of diseases of the oral cavity, jaws, and adjacent structures.

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

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

PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Inflammatory process of the gingival tissues and/or periodontal membrane of the teeth, resulting in an abnormally deep gingival sulcus, possibly producing periodontal pockets and loss of supporting alveolar bone.

PLAQUE
A soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives.

PULP
The blood vessels and nerve tissue that occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth.

ROOT
The anatomic portion of the tooth that is covered by cementum and is located in the alveolus (socket) where it is attached by the periodontal apparatus; radicular portion of tooth.

ROOT CANAL
The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth; the chamber within the root of the tooth that contains the pulp.

ROOT CANAL THERAPY
The treatment of disease and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions.

VENEER
In the construction of crowns or pontics, a layer of tooth-colored material, usually, but not limited to, composite, porcelain, ceramic or acrylic resin, attached to the surface by direct fusion, cementation, or mechanical retention; also refers to a restoration that is luted to the tooth.

WHITENING
A process that lightens the color of the teeth.

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