Dental Terms

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

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

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

Decalcification - the loss of calcium from the teeth
Deciduous Teeth - also called "baby teeth”
Dental Implants - an implant is attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth
Denture - a removable set of artificial teeth

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

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

Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth
Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth

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

Lateral - these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals

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

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

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

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

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"

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

Orthodontic Terms

Archwire - A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.

Band (orthodontic) - A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

Bracket - An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.

Ceramic brackets - Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.

Crowding - Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

Debanding - The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

Elastics (rubber bands) - Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

Gingiva - The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

Headgear - Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

Herbst appliance - Fixed or removable appliance designed commonly for overbite problems and more.

Imaging - The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions.

Lingual - Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

Lingual appliances - Orthodontic appliances fixed to the lingual surface of the teeth.

Maxillary - Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

Orthodontist - A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

Orthognathic surgery - Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

Overbite - Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

Radiograph - A permanent image, typically on film, produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.

Retainer - Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

Retention - The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.

Straight wire appliance - A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.

J. A. Lewandowski, D.D.S.

  • J. A. Lewandowski, D.D.S. - 13401 Mission Rd., Suite 212, Leawood, KS 66209 Phone: 913-851-8000

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