Dental Alphabet

A

Anaesthetic - A substance that causes lack of feeling or awareness. A local anaesthetic causes loss of feeling in a specific part of the body (commonly known as ‘numbness’).

Acute- Meaning abrupt onset. Acute often means an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care.

B

Bridges- Replace one or more missing teeth; they consist of an artificial tooth anchored to the natural teeth on each side of the gap.

Bruxism – Is excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth, it can lead to excessive wear on the teeth, it can occur in Adults and children, day or night.

Bacteria- Are micro-organisms that exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent upon another organism for life).

Blood - Is a red fluid in the body that contains white and red blood cells, platelets, and other elements. The blood is transported throughout the body by the circulatory system. Blood flows in two directions: arterial and venous. Arterial blood transports oxygen & nutrients to tissues and venous blood transports carbon dioxide & metabolic by- products to the kidneys and lungs for removal by the body.

Bone - Bone is a living substance that forms the skeleton of the body. It is composed primarily of calcium in the form of hydroxyapatite crystals, in a collagen matrix.

C

Calculus - Plaque which has become calcified. Also known as Tartar.

Cavity (or Carious Lesion) – Is a hole in the two outer layers of a tooth called the enamel and the dentin caused by bacteria. The enamel is the outermost white hard surface and the dentin is the yellow layer just beneath enamel. Both these layers protect the living tooth tissue called the pulp, where blood vessels and nerves reside. Small cavities do not always cause pain, and you may not initially notice them. Larger cavities can collect food, and the inner pulp of the affected tooth can become irritated by bacterial toxins and food.

Crown - Portion of tooth covered by enamel; also refers to a dental restoration shaped like the tooth it covers.

D

Deciduous Teeth - Are your Baby teeth, they are the childhood set of 20 teeth.

Dentin - Dentin is the hard tissue at the core of the tooth covered by enamel surrounding the central core of nerves and blood vessels (pulp).

E

Enamel- Hard, protective coating of tooth.

Eruption - When teeth first come through the gums.

F

Fissures – Pits and grooves on the biting surface of your back teeth.

Fissure Sealing – Is the procedure that protects tooth fissures against decay, by using a sealant.

Fluoride – Is a chemical element that is found in nature that helps strengthen teeth as well as reduce tooth decay and sensitivity.

G

Gingiva - The gum tissue that supports teeth and covers jawbone.

Gingivitis - A reversible gum disease which causes gum tenderness, inflammation and bleeding.

Gum Disease - See periodontal disease and gingivitis.

H

Halitosis - Whether you call it bad breath or halitosis, it’s an unpleasant condition that can cause embarrassment. Some people with bad breath aren’t even aware of it. If you’re concerned you may have bad breath, we can help identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition we can develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it.

I

Implant - A titanium screw implanted within the jawbone to which a permanent restoration such as a crown, bridge or denture is attached.

Interdental - Between teeth

J

Jaw Ache – We can identify the source of the pain with a thorough examination and appropriate x-rays. It could be referred sinus pain, toothache or an early stage of periodontal disease. But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed. The pain could be related to the facial muscles, the jaw or temporomandibular joint, the TM joint is located in the front of the ear. Treatments for Temporomandibular disorders (or TMD) may include stress reducing exercises, muscle relaxants, or wearing a mouth protector to prevent teeth grinding.

K

Knocked out Teeth- One way to reduce the chances of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue is to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities that are high risk. After sustaining a blow to your teeth, carefully realign any loose teeth and collect any fractured pieces and attend your dentist as soon as possible.

L

Latex - Natural rubber latex is a common ingredient found in many products ie: balloons, appliance cords, hoses, hot water bottles, pacifiers, clothing and toys, as well as many medical or dental supplies ;masks, gloves, dressings, tape and bandages.

Many people come in safe contact with latex-containing products every day, some susceptible individuals have developed hypersensitivity to proteins derived from natural rubber latex, which can cause allergic reactions. Latex allergy generally develops after repeated exposure to products containing natural rubber latex.

M

Mouthguards - Mouth protectors which usually cover the upper teeth can cushion a blow to the face, minimising the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth during full or non contact sport.

Mandible - The mandible is the bone of the lower jaw. The joint where the mandible meets the upper jaw at the temporal bone, this is called the temporomandibular joint.

Molars – The most posterior of your teeth are known as molars. Its origin is from the Latin mola meaning millstone.

Maxilla - Upper Jaw.

N

Nutrition – Sugar-filled soft drinks, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snack foods are increasing in the general population. It is essential to educate children and teenagers on the importance of good eating habits and the factors that affect how quickly youngsters may develop tooth decay. When bacteria (plaque) come into contact with sugar or starch in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth after 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.

O

Orthodontist – Is a dental professional who specialises in and corrects irregularities in tooth alignment, such as malocclusion and to help the teeth to function properly.

Occlusion – The alignment of the upper and lower teeth, when both arches are closed together.

P

Periodontal Disease – Is a serious inflammation of the gums that can cause pockets of infection around the roots and crowns of teeth, loss of bone, damage to gum tissue which will lead to teeth loss, if not treated.

Periodontist – Is a dental professional who specialises in the treatment of disease of the supporting structures of the teeth (i.e. the gums).

Plaque – Is a sticky bacterium that forms on tooth surfaces when they are not cleaned efficiently.

Pulp – Is made of connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves and extends from the crown to the tip of the root, it plays an important part in the development of the tooth.

Premolars – Two cusped teeth found directly in front of molars.

R

Restoration – Is replacement tooth structure from fillings, bridges, crowns and implants.

Root Canal Therapy – Is also known as Endodontics. This is a procedure used to eliminate infection within the pulp and root canal .

S

Subgingival – Below the gum line.

Supragingival – Above the gum line.

T

TMJ - The 'temporomandibular joint' (TMJ) or commonly known as the ‘jaw joint’, is where the lower jaw connects to the base of the skull.

V

Veneers - A wafer thin covering made of porcelain or composite resin that is placed on the front surface of a tooth.

W

Whitening - Is a bleaching process used to create a beautiful smile by extrinsically lightening the shade of your teeth to make them more aesthetically pleasing, using a medically certified bleaching gel.

X

X-rays - Provide a picture in areas we would not normally be able to see, so that we can detect early decay, impacted teeth, bone loss or any tooth abscesses.