June 2013 articles

Say What? Common Dental Terms, Explained

Does it sometimes sound like your dentist is speaking a foreign language when trying to explain procedures or issues? This cheat sheet1 can help you decipher some of the dental jargon. Abrasion This is wear and tear on the tooth caused by forces other than chewing. Improper or aggressive brushing is one cause of abrasions. Amalgam A cavity-filling material made of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. It is also known as a silver filling. Bruxism Whether its while you sleep or during the day, bruxism is when you clench or grind your teeth. Caries Thats tooth decay or cavities. Gingivitis Inflammation of the soft tissues around the base of each tooth. Impacted tooth If another tooth, soft tissue or bone is stopping a tooth from pushing through the gums, that tooth is called impacted. Implant A device thats surgically placed in the bone as a support for a denture or replacement tooth. Malocclusion If you have an overbite or an underbite, you have malocclusion, or improper alignment of biting and chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth. Palate The roof of your mouth, including hard tissues and soft tissues, is your palate. Plaque Its a soft, sticky, naturally-occurring substance that accumulates on teeth. It is the main target of your toothpaste and floss. Scaling This is a dental procedure, usually done during a cleaning appointment, using a sharp instrument or sonic cleaning device to remove calculus and stains from teeth that cant be brushed off.

1 http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Glossary/


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