Brushing -Brushing is the best way to remove cavity-causing plaque and other debris from all of your teeth. Plaque reacts with the bacteria and decaying food particles in your mouth and when left on the teeth long enough, begins to erode the enamel. It is recommended that you brush your teeth three times a day, usually after meals and before bedtime.

Flossings -It is a very thin ribbon you hold between fingers of each hand and insert between adjoining teeth and scrape along the teeth sides,especially close to gums. The ribbon, or floss, helps loosen debris by gently moving it up and down and back and forth between the teeth. Flossing is a proven method for loosening debris from hard-to-reach surfaces of your teeth and gum lines. Next to brushing, flossing is a highly effective method for removing plaque on tooth surfaces your brush can't reach very well. It can alsoc come in different flavors.

Mouth Rinses -Mouth rinses can have therapeutic benefits or only cosmetic in nature. But some have both attributes. In general, some therapeutic rinses with fluoride have been shown to actually fight cavities, plaque and gingivitis formed in your mouth. On the other hand, cosmetic rinses merely treat breath odor, reduce bacteria and/or remove food particles in the mouth. They do nothing to treat periodontal disease or prevent gingivitis. It is, however, generally agreed that the use of mouthwash does not eliminate the need for brushing adn flossing

NUTRITION -It has long been known that good nutrition and a well-balanced diet is one of the best defenses for your oral health. Providing your body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps your teeth and gums-as well as your immune system-stay strong and ward off infection, decay and disease.


Abcessed Tooth - It is a tooth that has become infected. When tooth decay advances deep into the tooth, it can cause destruction of the pulp, the core of the tooth. When this happens, the pulp gets infected and swollen and pus builds up near the jawbone. Left untreated, infected pulp can cause more serious problems, including damage to surrounding tissue and bone. Root canal treatment is the most common form of treatment. Root canal treatment involves removing the infected tissue, cleansing and sealing the canal of the tooth and restoring the tooth with a crown, or cap.

Bad Breath - Or halitosis. Bad breath is caused by decaying particles of food and bacteria that pass into your bloodstream and to the lungs, where odor is emitted from breathing. The root causes of bad breath are bacteria,or decaying food particles remaining in spaces between the teeth, on the gums and on the tongue. In many cases, good daily oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and rinsing, can keep bad breath in check. Other conditions, such as gum disease, can cause persistent bad breath. Of course, if you eat certain kinds of food, take certain kinds of medications, or smoke cigarettes or cigars, you may also experience symptoms of bad breath. In some cases, persistent bad breath may be a sign that you have a more serious health problem, including a gastrointestinal, respiratory or sinus problem. In most cases, over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses will temporarily freshen breath, but only mask the root cause. Good oral health habits can contribute to reducing and eliminating halitosis: brushing and flossing daily as well as regular professional cleanings performed by our office.

Canker/Cold Sores - A canker sore is typically one that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. It is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border. A cold sore or fever blister, on the other hand, usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid. In most cases, patience is the best medicine for treating canker sores. A healthy diet and good oral hygiene are usually the best remedy, but some special rinses and anesthetics can help. Cold sores can be treated effectively with some over-the-counter topical creams; sometimes, an antiviral medication will be prescribed by your doctor.

Cavities and Tooth Decay - Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things. In medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth's inner dentin material. These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, soda, candy, ice cream-even milk-are the common culprits. Left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque. The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures. If cavities aren't treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.



Abrasion Damage to the tooth structure caused by a hard toothbrush, poor brushing technique, bruxism, grinding or clenching the teeth

Abscess A localized infection in the bone or soft gum tissues

Abutment The natural tooth that remains to hold in place a fixed or removable bridge

Allergy An unfavorable reaction to a foreign substance or drug

Alveolar Bone The jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth

Amalgam The most common material used in fillings; also known as "mercury" or "silver"

Anesthesia An agent that removes the sensation of pain

Anterior Teeth The six upper or six lower front teeth

Antibiotic A drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria

Apex The tip of the root of a tooth

Apicoectomy The surgical removal of the root tip

Arch The alignment of the upper or lower teeth

Attrition The loss of structure due to natural wear

Autoclave A device used to sterilize instruments with pressurized steam


Base The cement placed under a dental restoration to insulate the nerve chamber

Bicuspid or Pre-Molar The transitional teeth between the cuspids and the molars

Biopsy The removal of a small or whole piece of tissue for microscopic examination

Bite The way in which the upper and lower teeth meet when closing the mouth

Bitewing An x-ray that detects tooth decay inbetween the teeth

Bleaching The whitening of natural teeth

Bonding The covering of a tooth surface with a composite resin to correct stained, decayed or damaged teeth

Braces The devices used by orthodontists to gradually reposition teeth

Bridge The prosthetic (false) teeth or row of teeth that spans between two natural teeth

Bruxism The involuntary grinding of teeth


Calculus The hard residue that forms on teeth due to plaque or saliva mineral buildup, often stained yellow or brown; also known as "tartar"

Canker Sore A mouth sore, whitish in color, that often appears with a red halo, Usually painful

Cantilever Bridge A fixed bridge that attaches to adjacent tooth or teeth on one end

Cap A common term for dental crown; see crown

Caries Tooth decay; common cause of cavities

Cavities A decay lesion or hole in a tooth that can lead to a root canal if left untreated

Clasp A device that holds a removable partial denture to stationary teeth

Cleaning The removal of plaque and tartar from teeth

Composite Filling A tooth-colored filling

Cosmetic Dentistry The treatments performed to enhance appearance (e.g., bleaching, veneers)

Cross Bite A reverse biting relationship of upper and lower teeth (e.g., underbite)

Crown A porcelain or gold cover (cap) for a decayed, broken, cracked, damaged or discolored tooth

Curettage The removal of diseased tissue from a periodontal pocket

Cuspids The large pointed teeth at the corners of the mouth, located between the incisors and bicuspids; also known as "canine" or "eye teeth". These teeth have very long roots

Cusps The raised round or pointy parts on the chewing surface of the teeth


DDS The abbreviation for Doctor of Dental Surgery

Decay Cavity; The destruction of tooth structure caused by toxins produced by bacteria

Deciduous Teeth "baby Teeth"; The first set of (usually) twenty teeth

Dental Floss A piece of nylon string that is inserted between the teeth and moved in an up/down fashion to remove plaque or other food deposits. Flossing is very important part of daily oral hygiene

Dental Implant A titanium cylinder surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to provide support for a dental restoration or appliance

Dentin The inner layer of tooth structure, located in between the surface enamel and the nerve of a tooth

Dentition The arrangement of natural or artificial teeth in the mouth

Denture A removable (partial or complete) set of artificial teeth

Diastema The space between teeth


Enamel The hard tissue covering the outer portion of tooth above the gum line; Enamel is the hardest bone in the body

Endodontics The branch of dentistry concerned with the treatment of the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth; the most common procedure is a root canal

Endodontist A specialist who treats injuries, diseases and infections of the nerve of the tooth

Extraction The removal of a tooth


Filling The restoration of lost tooth structure with Amalgam or Composit materials

Flap Surgery The lifting of gum tissue to expose and clean underlying tooth and bone structures

Fluoride A naturally occuring element that strengthens enamel, helping teeth resist decay

Frenectomy The removal or reshaping of thin muscle tissue that attaches the upper or lower lips to the gum, or the tongue to the floor of the mouth


General Anesthesia An agent that removes pain from the body by loss of consciousness or "deep sleep"

Gingivectomy The surgical removal of gum tissue

Gingivitis The inflammation of gum tissue; early stage of gum disease

Gum Recession The exposure of dental roots due to shrinkage of the gums from abrasion, periodontal disease or surgery


Halimeter An instrument used in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic halitosis (bad breath)

Halitosis Bad breath

Heat Sterilization A procedure that kills all microorganisms on instruments when placed into a chamber and the temperature is raised

Hygienist A type of dental professional qualified to clean and scale teeth; they also educate patients on proper dental care and oral hygiene


Imaging A photograph of teeth stored in a computer and then displayed on a television monitor; a dentist can show you an image of your smile with new, repaired or whitened teeth

Impacted Tooth A tooth that fails to erupt properly and remains fully or partially embedded and covered by bone or gum tissue

Implant A very common fixed replacement for a missing tooth

Impression A mold made of the teeth and soft tissues

Incisors The four upper or lower front teeth designed for cutting food

Inlay A custom-made cast-gold alloy, composit or porcelain that is cemented to a previously prepared cavity in the tooth

Interproximal The surfaces of adjoining teeth

Interocclusal The space between upper and lower teeth

Intraoral camera A video camera used to view and magnify oral conditions

Sedation An anesthesia used for people who want to be asleep during dental procedures


Jacket A crown for a front tooth, usually made of porcelain


Laminate A thin plastic or porcelain veneer produced in a dental laboratory and then bonded to a tooth

Lasers An instrument used in dentistry for surgery, to cure (harden) restorative tooth materials and enhance tooth bleaching, as well as to remove tooth structure to eliminate disease

Laughing Gas An odorless inhalation agent that produces relative sedation, reduces anxiety and creates a state of relaxation; also known as "nitrous oxide"

Limiting Age of Coverage The age at which a dependent covered by a dental plan is no longer eligible to receive benefits; most dental plans offer an extension of benefits beyond the limiting age of coverage to student and handicapped dependents

Local Anesthesia An agent that relieves the sensation of pain in a localized area


Malocclusion A misalignment of the upper and lower teeth; also known as "bad bite"

Mandible The lower jaw

Margin The point of contact between a restoration and the tooth structure

Maryland Bridge A bridge that requires a more conservative tooth reduction & is bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth

Maxilla The upper jaw

Medicated Filling A provisional or temporary filling that incorporates a pallative or soothing medication to calm an inflamed tooth nerve

Molars The back teeth that are designed for grinding food before swallowing

Mouthguard A removable appliance used to protect teeth from injury during athletic activities


Nerve (Root) Canal The dental pulp; the internal chamber of a tooth

Night Guard A removable acrylic appliance used to minimize the effects of grinding the teeth (bruxism) or joint problems (TMD); usually worn at night

Nitrous Oxide A gas used to reduce patient anxiety; also known as "laughing gas"


Occlusion Closure; relationship of the upper and lower teeth upon closure

Onlay A gold or porcelain inlay extended to cover the cusps for protection of the tooth

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon A specialist who deals with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of diseases, injuries and deformities of the mouth and supporting structures

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Surgical procedures on the mouth including extractions, removal of cysts or tumors, and repair of fractured jaws

Oral Cavity The mouth

Oral Hygiene The process of maintaining cleanliness of the teeth and related structures

Oral Pathologist A dentist specializing in the study of oral diseases

Oral Sedation Any substance taken orally (i.e., a pill or liquid) to reduce anxiety and relax the patient

Oral Surgery Surgery of the mouth

Orthodontics A dental specialty that treats misalignment of teeth; an extended treatment that usually consists of braces or a retainer

Overbite A vertical overlap of the front teeth

Over Denture A denture that fits over residual roots or dental implants


Palate Roof of the mouth

Palliative Treatment A non-invasive relief of irritating conditions

Panorex A single full mouth x-ray

Partial Denture A removable appliance (prosthesis) that replaces some of the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw

Pathology The study of disease

Pediatric Dentistry A dental specialty focusing on treatment of children's teeth

Pedodontist A dentist specializing in the treatment of children

Periapical (PA) The region at the end of the roots of teeth

Periodontal Chart The record measuring the depth of gum pockets around the teeth

Periodontal Disease The general term for the inflammation or disease affecting the gums

Periodontal Surgery The recontouring or esthetic management of diseased gum and supporting tissue

Periodontics The treatment of diseases of the gum or bone (supporting structure)

Periodontist A dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease

Permanent Teeth The thirty-two adult teeth in a complete dentition

Pit A small defect in the tooth enamel

Plaque A sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth and harbors bacteria growth and acid formation beneath its surface, causing tooth decay; Plaque buildup can irritate the gums and cause periodontal disease

Pontic A replacement tooth mounted on a fixed or removal appliance

Porcelain Crown An all-porcelain restoration covering the portion of tooth above the gum line

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PRM) Crown A restoration with metal coping (for strength) covered by porcelain (for appearance)

Porcelain Inlay or Onlay A tooth-colored restoration made of porcelain, cemented or bonded in place

Porcelain Veneers A thin layer of porcelain bonded to a natural tooth to replace lost tooth structure, close spaces, straighten teeth or change color and/or shape

Post The thin metal rod inserted into the root of a tooth after root canal therapy; provided retention for a "coping" that replaces lost tooth structure and retains crown

Preventive Services The dental procedures concerned with the prevention of dental diseases by protective and educational measures; may include exam, cleanings, x-rays and fluoride

Prophy Air polishing for stain removal

Prophylaxis The professional cleaning and removal of plaque, stains, and calculus on the teeth

Prosthodontics The restoration of natural teeth and replacement of missing or lost teeth; common procedures are crowns, bridges, dentures and dental implants

Prosthodontist A dentist that specializes in the restoration of natural teeth and replacement of teeth; expertise includes, but is not limited to: crowns, bridges, dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems and oral cancer reconstruction

Provider The dentist or specialist

Pulp The nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue inside a tooth

Pulp Chamber The opening in the center of the crown of a tooth which contains the pulp (nerve tissue) and stretches to the tip of the root

Pulpectomy The complete removal of the pulp (commonly done in children's teeth)


Quadrant One fourth of the mouth or half of the bottom or top section of the mouth


Radiograph An image produced on photographic film by radiation, such as x-rays passed through an object; also known as "x-rays"

Reimplantation An insertion and temporary fixation of partially or completely dislodged tooth or teeth, resulting from traumatic injury

Reline An acrylic restoration of a denture base

Restoration The replacement of the damaged portion of a tooth

Retained Root A partial root structure remaining in jaw after extraction or fracture of a natural tooth

Retainer An appliance for maintaining the positions of the teeth and jaws immediately after the completion of orthodontic treatment

Root The tooth structure that connects the tooth to the jaw

Root Canal A procedure used to save an abscessed tooth in which the pulp chamber is cleaned out, disinfected, and filled with a permanent filling

Root Planing The deep cleaning of the teeth to remove hardened plaque below the gum line; usually performed one quadrant at a time

Root Resection The removal of a portion of diseased root structure, retaining the remaining natural tooth


Saliva The clear, natural lubricating fluid in the mouth

Saliva Ejector The suction tube placed in the mouth to remove saliva during dental procedures

Salivary Glands The mouth's natural receptors, located under the tongue and in cheeks, that produce saliva

Scaling A treatment for gum disease involving removal of hardened plaque (tartar or calculus) from teeth and underneath the gums

Sealant A plastic coating applied to grooves and fissures of the teeth to prevent decay on the chewing surfaces of the teeth

Space Maintainer The dental device that holds the space lost through premature loss of baby teeth

Splint The connection of two or more teeth so they function as a stronger single structure

Subscriber An insured, member or enrollee

Supernumary Tooth An extra tooth


Tartar The calcified plaque that forms from mineral salts in the saliva and deposits on the teeth

TMD Temporomandibular Disorders The problems associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects the lower jaw with the skull; typically associated with pops and pain in the joint

Tooth Whitening A process to lighten the color of teeth


Ultrasonic Cleaning A cleaning that uses high frequency sound waves to gently remove deposits, such as tartar and stain, from the teeth

Unerupted Tooth A tooth that has not pushed through the gum


Veneers The plastic or porcelain facing which is bonded directly to a tooth to improve its appearance, producing a very natural appearance


Whitening A process that lightens the color of teeth

Wisdom Teeth The third set of molars, the last teeth to come in, usually erupt at age 18-25


Xerostomia Dry mouth or decrease in the production of saliva

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