Dental Terminology | Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentist

Your mouth is a complicated place, full of teeth, your tongue, active bacteria and your gums – all play a vital roll all need to be properly cared for and controlled. As we know, so many things can go wrong inside your mouth without proper oral care. But sometimes when you go to the dentist, you may hear terms you’re not quit familiar with – or maybe you are too shy to ask. We’ve compiled a list of terms you could possibly hear during your visit so you can feel comfortable knowing you understand whats going on with your oral health.

Teeth conditions or terms you may hear at the dentist: 

  • Cavities (or caries): Bacteria evade removal by brushing and saliva and damage the enamel and deeper structures of teeth. Most cavities occur on molars and premolars.
  • Tooth decay: A general name for disease of the teeth, including cavities and caries.
  • Periodontitis: Inflammation of the deeper structures of the teeth (periodontal ligament, jawbone, and cementum). Poor oral hygiene is usually to blame.
  • Gingivitis: Inflammation of the surface portion of the gums, around and between the crowns of the teeth. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis.
  • Plaque: A sticky, colorless film made of bacteria and the substances they secrete. Plaque develops quickly on teeth after eating sugary food, but can be easily brushed off.
  • Tartar: If plaque is not removed, it mixes with minerals to become tartar, a harder substance. Tartar requires professional cleaning for removal.
  • Overbite: The upper teeth protrude significantly over the lower teeth.
  • Underbite: The lower teeth protrude significantly past the upper teeth.
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism): Stress, anxiety, or sleep disorders can cause teeth grinding, usually during sleep. A dull headache or sore jaw are symptoms.
  • Tooth sensitivity: When one or more teeth become sensitive to hot or cold, it may mean the dentin is exposed(Source: webmd.com).
  • Root Canal: A dentist can save a damaged tooth by performing a root canal, which removes decayed pulp from interior space of the root. The space is then filled with an inert material. A root canal is sometimes but not always followed by the adding of a crown.
  • Crown: Tooth crowns are placed over existing teeth, and are typically a way to cover teeth that have metal fillings or misshapen teeth. They are most commonly given to patients who have crooked, broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
  • Denture: Dentures are removable (partial or complete) set of artificial teeth.
  • Dental Implant: A dental implant is a metal cylinder surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to provide support for a dental restoration or appliance.
  • Bridge: Bridges resemble natural teeth, and are designed to take the place of areas where there are gaps between teeth. bridge is a stationary dental prosthesis (appliance) fixed to teeth adjacent to a space. It replaces one or more missing teeth, cemented or bonded, to supporting teeth or implants adjacent to the space.

A more extensive list of terms can be found at the ADA’s website at: http://www.ada.org/en/publications/cdt/glossary-of-dental-clinical-and-administrative-ter

While we encourage you to never be shy ask your dental professional to elaborate on what they’re speaking about – Dr. Yankowskas is happy to guide you!

For more information on your oral health, contact Dr. James Yankowskas and make an appointmentat (978) 649-7773 or visit our website.

Dr. James Yankowskas also proudly serves Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable, and surrounding areas.