A Basic Guide to Common Dental Terms

tooth removalAccording to Statistic Brain, the average time people wait between dental appointments is three years. And when you visit the dentist so infrequently, you may never become familiar with the language of dental hygiene. Sure, you’ve heard of root canals and dental crowns, but what does it all mean and how does it relate to you? To dissolve some of the mystery surrounding dentistry and oral health, take a look at the short glossary below.

Amalgam: This is the most common material used for fillings. It is made up of mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper.

Bonding: Bonding is a type of dental restoration technique that involves using a tooth-colored resin to change the shape of a tooth.

Bruxism: This is a condition characterized by the grinding or gnashing of the teeth, usually while one is asleep.

Cavity: One of the most common dental problems, a cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by decay. When decay becomes too severe, tooth removal is sometimes necessary. As many as 20% of Americans have one or more untreated cavities.

Calculus: Also known as tartar, this is the hard residue that forms on teeth, causing them to develop a yellow or brown tint.

Crown: This is a tooth-shaped cap that covers a tooth to improve its appearance. Studies show that about 15 million Americans have crown or bridge replacements for missing teeth.

Dental Implant: Dental implants are used to replace a tooth after tooth removal. A titanium cylinder is installed in the jaw to support a dental prosthesis. Today, about 3 million people have implants, and that number is growing significantly every year.

Dentures: Dentures are similar to dental implants in that they are designed to replace missing teeth due to tooth removal or loss. These, however, are a removable set of artificial teeth.

Gingivitis: This condition causes the inflammation of the gum tissue due to plaque buildup on and around the teeth.

Root Canal: This procedure involves removing the dental pulp (tissue inside a tooth) and replacing it with an inert material in order to treat decay or infection.

Sealant: Sealant is the plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay.

Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth are the third molars at the back of the mouth. They are the last to emerge, which means that they don’t always have enough room to grow and develop normally, sometimes causing them to become impacted. Because of this, it is not uncommon for adults to have their wisdom teeth removed.

Now that you’ve got some of the lingo down, it’s important to talk to your dentist about your own oral health. For a regular checkup, or to visit an emergency dentist today, contact us at our Angola Dental Center or Aegis Dental Group.

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