Glossary Photo


Abutment – an artificial root used to anchor a dental implant or a natural tooth that helps support a fixed bridge.

Alveolar bone – the portion of the jawbone that forms and supports the tooth socket.

Amalgam – material made of mercury and other alloy mixtures that is used to restore a decayed tooth.

Anterior teeth – the front teeth (incisors and cuspids).


Bicuspids – the back teeth.

Bonding – a procedure used to restore crooked, chipped, cracked or discolored teeth. During the procedure, composite material, either plastic or resin, is bonded to the surface of the tooth.

Bone Graft – a surgical procedure performed to replace missing bone, in preparation for the placement of bridges or dental implants.

Bridge – a fixed or removable appliance that replaces one or multiple missing teeth. Bridges can be made of porcelain, gold or alloys, or a combination of all these materials.

Bruxism – clenching or grinding of the teeth.


CAD/CAM – technology used to design and create dental crowns and other restorations.

Calculus – the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.

Canines – pointy teeth next to the front teeth. Also called cuspids.

Caries – cavities; tooth decay.

Contouring – reshaping of the teeth.

Crown – also called a cap. A crown restores a tooth that is decayed, fractured, misshapen or discolored.


Dental implant – an artificial tooth root used to replace a single or multiple missing teeth.

Dentin – the dense, hard, bony tissue that makes up the main portion of a tooth; located beneath the enamel.

Dentures – a removable prosthesis used to replace missing 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 – amalgam (metal) or composite material used to repair a decayed, cracked or broken tooth.

Fluoride – a substance naturally present in water that helps prevent tooth decay.

Fracture – a broken tooth.


Gingiva – gum tissue

Gum Disease – a serious infection of the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. Also called periodontal disease.


Impacted Tooth – often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requires extraction.

Incisor – one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth.

Inlay – filling used to restore small areas of mild to moderate decay on the surface of a tooth.


Malocclusion – bad bite.

Mandible – the lower jaw.

Maxilla – the upper jaw.


Night Guard – a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Also 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 buildup 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 severely damaged teeth.


Root – the portion of the tooth below your gum line.


Sleep Apnea – a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night. Prosthodontists use non-surgical custom made appliances to treat sleep apnea.


TMJ Disorder – a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw, often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.


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