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Let us help clear up some of the mystery and confusion behind some common dentistry terms so you can enjoy a stress free, informed visit.
Filling Material made from mixing mercury, silver and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.
Drugs administered by using a needle used to relieve pain and “freeze” a tooth
The upper or lower jaw.
A premolar tooth; tooth with two cusps.
X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities between teeth.
Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.
A fixed prosthetic device used to replace one or more missing teeth.
Habit of grinding or gnashing teeth especially while asleep.
Calculus or tartar is a form of hardened dental plaque that deposits and adheres to crowns and/or roots of teeth or prosthetic devices.
The narrow chamber inside the tooth’s root.
Also called cuspids.
A commonly used term for tooth decay, or cavities.
Cold sores are tiny blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. The herpes simplex virus strain HSV-1 normally causes them. They usually clear within 7 to 10 days without treatment.
Composite resin filling
Tooth coloured resin fillings that bond to teeth and are used in place of Silver Amalgam restorations.
The process of shaving or reshaping teeth.
Crown or Cap
An artificial tooth replacement in ceramic or metal that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure.
The pointed parts on a tooth’s chewing surface.
Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge. Generally 3rd from the midline.
The tooth layer underneath the enamel.
A removable set of teeth.
A field of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth’s root or nerve.
A mineral usually present in trace amounts in water and food. The Canadian Dental Association supports the appropriate use of fluorides in dentistry as one of the most successful preventive health measures in the history of health care.
A harmless over-exposure to fluoride resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.
Swelling of the gums caused by plaque.
A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts. Most commonly related to wisdom teeth or Canines.
A permanent replacement (that looks like a screw in the bone) for a missing tooth. It is commonly made of titanium
Front teeth with cutting edges.
A shell made of glass like structure that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth to improve the shape or colour of teeth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.
A malocclusion is a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches. It is most commonly seen as crowding or spacing between teeth due to discrepancy between the size of teeth and jaws.
The lower jaw.
The upper jaw.
Back teeth that are used for chewing and grinding the teeth.
A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.
A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.
A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.
Roof of the mouth.
A removable appliance that replaces missing teeth.
A field of dentistry that deals with children’s oral health.
Infection of the gum tissues and the underlying bone.
When you have periodontal disease, the supporting tissue and bone around teeth is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth.
A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.
The teeth that erupt after primary teeth fall off. Also called adult teeth.
A sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria proliferate.
The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
A person’s first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.
The act of cleaning the teeth to prevent teeth and gum disease.
The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.
The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.
A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth’s enamel and surrounding bone.
An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.
Root canal treatment
A procedure in which a tooth’s nerve is removed and the inner canal cleansed and filled.
Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from decay. Toothbrushes can't reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract all food and plaque. While fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants add extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas.
Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.
A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth’s surface.
A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.
A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring or brightening the color of teeth.
Third set of molars that are the last to erupt. Generally erupt in adolescence and are also called the 18year molars.