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Friday, August 12, 2022
Know Your Teeth Academy of General Dentistry Know Your Teeth


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Oral Health Glossary

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Oral Health Glossary
Oral Health Glossary
air abrasion: a method of tooth-structure removal considered to be an effective alternative to the standard dental drill


amalgam: a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper used to fill cavities


bleaching: cosmetic whitening of teeth


burning mouth syndrome: a condition characterized by a burning or scalding pain on the lips and tongue


bruxism: the unintentional grinding or clenching of teeth that may cause facial pain


canker sore: ulcers that occur inside the mouth and are often are triggered by trauma to the inner cheek or gum


caries: also known as cavities, tooth decay


cold sore: tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters that form around the mouth and are caused by the herpes simplex virus


composite resin: a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth

cosmetic dentistry: aesthetic improvement of the color and shape of teeth


crown: a restoration that covers, or "caps," a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth


denture: a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues


dry mouth: a painful condition caused by a decrease in the amount of saliva in the mouth when salivary glands do not work properly


fluoride: a compound that makes the tooth more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay 


general dentist: a primary care provider for patients in all age groups who takes responsibility for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services to meet patients' oral health needs 


gingivitis: an early stage of gum tissue 


halitosis: chronic bad breath


mouthguard: an appliance used to protect teeth from injury 


orthodontics: a branch of dentistry dealing with the treatment of irregular bites


periodontal disease: inflammation and irritation of the gums, which if left untreated, can cause tooth loss


plaque: a sticky substance that forms on teeth and causes tooth decay


root canal: a procedure that repairs the damaged or dead pulp in the root canal of the tooth 


sealant: a plastic coating used to protect teeth from decay 


sleep apnea: a serious, potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing episodically during sleep due to an obstructed airway


temporomandibular disorder: problems relating to the temporomandibular joint, including locking of the jaw, frequent headaches, sore jaw muscles and painful clicking of the jaw


wisdom teeth: the third molars, which typically erupt during the teenage years


veneer: ultra-thin shells of ceramic (porcelain) or a composite resin material, which are bonded to the front of teeth to improve the smile
Reviewed: January 2012