Dental Terminology to Help You on Your Next Visit

Posted on: May 23, 2018

Knowing the definition of dental terminology commonly used by dentists can make your experience much more pleasant. It will make it a lot easier for you to understand what your dentist is saying, which makes you more comfortable during treatments. It will also make it easier for you recognize terms listed on your dental bills and oral hygiene products you purchase.


Ready to learn some big words you can impress your dentist with? Let's jump right into our list of commonly used dental terminology.

Apicoectomy: This refers to the surgical removal of the tip of a root. The procedure is typically performed to address an infected root canal.

Abrasion: This means damage to the enamel of your teeth. It is typically due to using an abrasive toothpaste, brushing too hard, or using hard objects to pick your teeth.

Bitewing: This is a type of X-ray that is used to search for signs of tooth decay between your teeth.  

Bleaching agents: This refers to chemical solutions that are used to whiten your teeth.

Bonding: This is a tooth-colored composite filling that is applied to a tooth to change its color or shape.

Bruxism: This is the medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth. It is typically an involuntary habit that occurs when you sleep. Symptoms of bruxism include worn out teeth, fractures, and flat teeth.

Calculus: This is more commonly known as tartar. It refers to hardened mineral deposits that accumulate on your teeth.

Crown: This is a protective cover that is used to fully enclose a tooth. Crowns are more commonly known as caps.

Curettage: This is the removal of infected gum tissue.

Dentin: This is the inner part of your teeth's structure right underneath the enamel.

Extraction: This is the surgical removal of part or all of a tooth.

Filling: This is a substance that is used to fill the holes created by tooth decay or an injury to a tooth. Fillings can be made from porcelain, composites, or metals.

Frenum: This is the tissue that connects your tongue and lips to your gums.

Gingiva: This is the medical name of your gums. You know, that soft tissue that encloses your teeth.  

Gingivitis: This refers to the early stages of gum disease which is one of the most common dental issues. It can be reversed with proper treatment.

Gingivectomy: This is the surgical removal or reshaping of gum tissue.

Malocclusion: This is a tooth alignment condition where the bottom and top teeth are not properly aligned.

Maxilla: Also known as your upper jaw.

Mandible: This is the dental term for your lower jaw.

Nightguard: This is a special mouth guard you wear at night to reduce the effects of teeth grinding.

Periodontitis: This refers to a more advanced stage of gum disease. It affects the ligaments and tissue that keep your teeth in place, leading to the loss of your teeth.

Pulp: The inner part of a tooth.

Xerostomia: This is the dental term for dry mouth. It facilitates tooth decay and bad breath.

Use some of this dental terminology on your next visit with Siegert Dental.

Request a dental check-up here: or call Siegert Dental at (608) 466-4227 for an appointment in our Onalaska dental office.

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