How Well Do You Know Your Dental Terminology?

Going to the dentist can be intimidating. Although most hygienists and dentists work hard to use terms that are easy to understand, it can be very helpful for patients to “brush up” on their dental terminology so that they can feel more comfortable in the dental chair and have a clear understanding of how to maintain good oral hygiene at home.

Here are some common dental terms that you may hear:

Silver/mercury filling for cavities
Tooth decay or cavities
Restorative materials, also known as “tooth-colored fillings”
A “bad bite” or misalignment of teeth and or jaws
Occlusal surface
The chewing surface of the tooth
Periodontal disease
Gum disease: inflammation and irritation of the gums, which can cause the jawbone and teeth to deteriorate and fall out if left untreated
A sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that has mineralized and can attack teeth and cause decay
Professional teeth cleaning by a dentist or hygienist
Resin Plastic material used in bonding, restorative, and replacement procedures
A plastic coating used to protect teeth from decay, used commonly on children
Third molars
Another term for wisdom teeth
A disorder involving problems relating to your temporomandibular joint, including locking of the jaw, frequent headaches, sore jaw muscles, and painful clicking of the jaw

By familiarizing yourself with dental terminology, we hope you will feel a little more relaxed and at ease at your next trip to the dentist. If there are other terms or procedures that you don’t understand, ask your dental hygienist or dentist for a better explanation. Understanding exactly what your dentist is referring to can better equip you to take care of your smile.

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