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2710 S. Clear Creek Rd., #118, Killeen, TX 76549 | (254) 200-1893

Abscess

A collection of pus, which usually forms as a result of infection.

Abutment

A tooth or tooth structure which anchors a bridge, denture or implant.

Amalgam

A silver filling material made from several different metals, including mercury.

Anesthetic

A medication which causes temporary numbness and loss of sensation or feeling.

Anterior

The position in the front (in dentistry, the front teeth).

Apex

The end/tip of the root.

Asepsis

No micro-organism.

Attrition

The gradual wear of the teeth over time. Attrition usually is the result of daily use in chewing as well as other problems.

Avulsed

A term applied to teeth which are knocked out of the mouth completely.

Bitewing

A kind of dental X-ray which is taken with the teeth biting together. Bitewing X-rays detect cavities in between teeth and height of bone support.

Bleaching

Another term for teeth whitening.

Bridge

A dental prosthesis which is fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.

Bruxism

A condition characterized be teeth grinding and clenching.

Canine

The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There four canine teeth are the longest teeth in humans.

Canker sore

An ulceration with yellow base and red border in mouth. It can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus.

Caries

Another term for tooth decay.

Cavity

A hole on the tooth. Also known as tooth decay or carries.

Cast

A model of teeth. Also known as an impression.

Cementation

The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.

Chlorhexidine

An anti-microbial agent available in many forms, such as gels and rinses. It is an effective agent in controlling gum diseases.

Clasp

A metal arm extended from a removable partial denture. It helps to hold onto natural tooth structure and thus provide anchorage for the denture.

Cold sore

An ulcer or blister on lip. A form of herpes simplex.

Composite

A term used to indicate white filling or bonding material. Composite filing material is usually made from a mixture of glass and plastics and is tooth-colored.

Crossbite

An abnormal bite relationship of upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth/tooth align toward the check/ lip side more than the upper teeth/tooth.

Crown (porcelain/plastic/metal)

A crown, or cap, is a dental prosthetic which covers the tooth above the gum line to restore the appearance and function of the tooth.

Decay

A soft substance caused by the bacterial demineralization of enamel and dentin. An infection within a tooth.

Dentistry

A branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of any disease concerning the teeth, mouth or associated structures.

Dentition

The position, type, and number of teeth in upper and lower jaw.

Denture (Immediate/complete/partial; overdenture, temporary)

An artificial object to replace missing teeth and their neighboring structures. There are many different types of dentures to satisfy different treatment requirements and patient preferences.

Denturist

The person who specializes in fabricating dentures.

Desensitization

A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.

Diagnosis

The process of identifying dental disease.

Diastema

The space between two adjacent teeth.

Distal

A direction indication in the mouth. It indicates the direction away from the middle of the jaw.

Edentulous

No teeth.

Endodontics

A department of dentistry involving diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental pulp (the nerves and blood vessels inside the teeth).

Eruption

The process of the tooth appearing in the mouth.

Excision

The action of cutting something off.

Extruded

When a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket.

Filling

A restoration placed on a tooth to restore its function and appearance. Filling repair minor to moderate damage, such as that caused by cavities or minor cracking.

Flipper

A temporary denture to replace missing teeth during the waiting period for long term treatment.

Floss

A thread that goes in between teeth for cleaning.

Fluoride

A mineral which works to strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent cavities.

Fluoride Treatment

Teeth treatment with fluoride agents like gel or rinse. It helps to prevent tooth decay.

Fracture

When a cusp of a tooth becomes weakened, a fracture may result. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root and damage to the pulp is commonplace.

Framework

A metal skeleton of a removable partial denture to support the false teeth and the plastic attachments.

Gingivitis

The mildest form of gum disease, caused by inflammation of the gums and characterized by red, tender and swollen gums and gums which bleed easily.

Hemorrhage

Severe bleeding.

Hemostasis

A stop to bleeding.

Impaction

A condition where a tooth is trapped and unable to erupt normally through the gums.

Implant

A prosthetic tooth which replaces both the tooth root and crown. The implant post is a small screw in the jawbone, while the implant restoration replaces the missing tooth or teeth.

Impression

A mold taken by some jelly-like material loaded on a tray. Used in creating mouth guards, oral appliances, dental restorations, etc.

Incisal

The cutting edge of front teeth.

Incisor

The four upper and lower front teeth.

Inlay

A restoration (usually gold, composite or ceramics) fabricated in the lab that cements on a tooth like a missing puzzle piece. It helps to restore the normal function and outlook of the tooth. Also known as a “partial crown.”

Interproximal

The space between two adjacent teeth.

Lingual

The side of the tooth towards the tongue.

Mesial

The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw.

Molar

The last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.

Mouthguard

A device to be worn in the mouth. Mouth guards may be used to protect the teeth from grinding or while playing a sport.

Nightguard

A mouthguard which is worn at night time. Typically recommended to treat bruxism or TMJ disorders.

Occlusal

The biting surface of the back teeth.

Occlusion

The way that the upper and lower teeth close together.

Onlay

A restoration that covers the entire biting surface of a tooth. Also known as a “partial crown” and used to restore damage caused by cavities or cracking.

Open bite

The situation where the upper teeth not able to contact the opposing lower teeth.

Orthodontics

A special field in dentistry which involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities or facial irregularities.

Over bite

The overlap of upper teeth and lower teeth when they close together.

Overhang

The portion of filling material that hangs beyond the border of the cavity.

Palate

The roof of the mouth.

Panoramic Radiograph

An X-ray film which captures images of the entire jaws and associated structures. Often used in planning treatments such as implant placement.

Perforation

An opening on a tooth or other oral structure.

Periapical

The surrounding of the bottom of the root of a tooth.

Periodontics

A specialty of dentistry involving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease and other conditions of the gums. Periodontics also includes implant placement procedures.

Permanent teeth

Adult’s teeth. The first permanent tooth usually comes in around 6 years old.

Pin

A piece of “nail-like” metal. It usually is used for better retention of a filling.

Polish

A process to make the tooth, filling or other denture smooth and glossy.

Pontic

The false tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.

Post

A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal or carbon. Its function usually is to support a big buildup on a tooth.

Posterior

Located at the back.

Pre-authorization

An approval from the particular authority (usually insurance company in dentistry) before any action (treatment) is carried out.

Pre-medication

Medication needing to be taken before treatment.

Premolar

The two teeth located in front of the molar.

Prescription

A written statement (from a doctor to a pharmacist) regarding the type, the amount and direction of the use of a medication for a patient. In dentistry, a prescription can also be a written statement for preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician.

Primary teeth

Baby teeth. Primary teeth begin erupting at around six months of age. There are 20 primary teeth in total.

Prophylaxis/prophy

The procedure of teeth polishing. It also means the prevention of diseases.

Prosthesis

An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Prosthodontics

A specialty of dentistry involving the diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

Pulp

The innermost part of a tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.

Pulpectomy

The removal of the whole pulp inside a tooth. Typically provided for children and also known as a baby root canal.

Pulpotomy

The removal of the top part of the pulp inside a tooth. Typically provided for children and also known as a baby root canal.

Radiograph

The formal term for an X-ray.

Recall

The regular checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.

Recementation

The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis back on the associated area.

Restoration

An item a dentist uses to restore the normal function of a tooth or an area in the mouth. Restorations include fillings, bridges, crowns and implants.

Retainer

A device used for maintaining the position of teeth in the jaw in orthodontic treatment.

Retreatment

The process of repeating the root canal treatment.

Root

The bottom part of tooth. It anchors the tooth to its supporting units.

Root canal

The canal that runs inside the root of the tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth.

Root canal treatment

A treatment for the root canal inside the tooth. Usually required when decay or trauma reach into the dental pulp and performed to save the tooth and prevent extraction.

Root planing

The action of cleaning the root area of teeth. Usually performed to treat periodontal disease in combination with scaling.

Rubber dam

A rubber sheet that fits around teeth. It isolates the treatment area from the rest of the oral cavity.

Scaling

The action of cleaning teeth below the gumline. Usually performed to treat periodontal disease in combination with root planing.

Sealant

A thin layer of plastic-like material covering the grooves and pits on a tooth to block out decay-causing factors and protect the teeth from cavities.

Sedation

The use of medication to calm a patient.

Space Maintainer

An appliance to maintain the space between teeth.

Splint

An appliance or a material to prevent movement of a mobile part.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The joint that links the two parts of the jaw. TMJ disorders affect this joint and may require treatment.

Torus

An outgrowth of bone. It usually develops on the roof of the mouth or around the premolar area on the lower jaw.

Veneer

A thin, tooth colored shell which is bonded to the front surfaces of the tooth to improve the appearance of the smile.

Wisdom tooth

The eighth (also the last) tooth from the middle of the jaw. Also known as the third molars, and usually requiring extraction.

Xerostomia

The formal term for dry mouth.