Do you struggle to keep all of the different dental terms straight? If so, we’ve got just the thing for you: A glossary full of all the dental terminology you could possibly want to know—and then some! Search for a specific term below, or scroll down to see our full list of dental terms. From dental procedures to parts of the mouth and the tools dentists use, read on to get down with some dentistry vocabulary.
A type of localized lesion that is usually associated with pus, swelling, and discomfort; this type of infection can affect the tooth, bone, or soft tissues. | Read more…
1) Teeth that support fixed or partial bridges; 2) The metal or porcelain piece that connects the implant post to the crown
A pain-relieving medication that you can purchase over the counter. Both Tylenol and Anacin are acetaminophen.
A dental material used to prepare/roughen surface of the tooth for bonding materials
A black powder that is used for natural tooth whitening | Read more…
A sudden illness, potentially requiring immediate treatment.
ADA Seal of Acceptance
An award from the American Dental Association given to products deemed safe, effective, and supported by science
A substance or material that bonds surfaces or materials together
An adult health condition, wherein those affected can’t control their blood sugar levels
Related to appearance and beauty
An alternative to wire-and-bracket braces; a plastic tray fitted to the teeth to correct alignment problems | Read more…
A type of tissue graft from one human donor to another recipient
A synthetic material used to replicate/replace human tissue (e.g., bone)
A bone that keeps the tooth anchored at the tooth base
A common alloy used for fillings, sometimes known as silver fillings; contains tin, silver, copper, zinc, and mercury
A process for pain management; anesthesia is administered before dental procedures to promote relaxation and lessen feelings of pain and discomfort.
The use of antibiotics before potential exposure to bacteria in order to prevent infection.
A group of medications used to treat bacterial infections, such as abscesses | Read more…
A type of medicine that keeps blood clots from forming, reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack
The tip of the tooth root
A removable orthodontic device or dental restoration
The curved anatomy of upper and lower teeth alignment
Bone or tissue that is surgically transferred from one part of the body to another
A rare infection involving the heart.
A chemical compound sometimes used in natural dentistry to clean teeth; also known as sodium bicarbonate
A thin layer of material used in certain tissue regeneration procedures
A medical term used to describe a non-cancerous growth or lesion
The fourth and fifth teeth toward the back of the mouth in each arch; see also premolars.
The ability to be tolerated by living tissues, bones, organs etc.
A procedure that involves removing a small amount of tissue in order to diagnose a condition
A type of medicine that makes bones stronger
A type of dental x-ray characterized by showing upper and opposing lower teeth in a single photo film to identify decay
A procedure that makes teeth whiter in color
The process of adhering materials to teeth, such as porcelain or composite resin
The building up of the bone around dental implants.
The decrease of bone supporting a tooth or implant.
Deterioration of the bone that keeps teeth in place; often associated with gum (periodontal) disease
An orthodontic device composed of brackets and wires that is gradually adjusted to straighten misaligned teeth | Read more…
An appliance that can replace missing teeth and spans multiple teeth to create better support; sometimes called a fixed partial denture | Read more…
The condition of teeth grinding, which often occurs at night | Read more…
A general term relating to the cheek or mouth (e.g. the buccal side of the tooth)
Tooth decay that results due to bulimia, an eating disorder | Read more…
A calcium-based deposit that can be yellow or brown in color and is the result of poor plaque removal; another term for tartar
A type of mild mouth ulcer that is common in adolescents and young adults
A medical term for cavities or tooth decay
Missing tooth structure from caries, erosion or abrasion; also known as a carious lesion
A type of mineralized tissue that protects the root of the tooth and helps anchor it in place
The location of the gum line in between the tooth crown and the root; sometimes called the cervical margin
The process of removing plaque and tartar from the teeth above the gum line
A birth condition that results in a split lip and may be associated with a cleft palate
A birth condition that results in a split in the roof of the mouth | Read more…
A study conducted to test the efficacy of a new treatment or medication
A pain-relieving medication that requires a doctor’s prescription; can have many side effects including mental dependence
A dental material used in restorations (e.g., fillings) that is tooth-colored and composed of plastic and blended with glass or ceramic particles for added strength | Read more…
Services that improve the aesthetics of your teeth or mouth instead of your oral health.
A dental misalignment where the top and bottom teeth sit unevenly, resulting in an asymmetrical face | Read more…
1) The part of the tooth above the gum line; 2) A covering for part or all of a tooth to restore the tooth to its original shape and size | Read more…
The pointed tip(s) of the tooth
A tooth with a rounded or pointed tip; the third tooth from the center; also known as canines
A sac that can contain fluid, soft material, or gas and can be benign or malignant; may be accompanied by inflammation
A barrier used during dental care
See pulp necrosis.
The process of removing damaged tissue or debris as part of treatment
Tooth destruction that happens due to bacterial buildup; see also tooth decay.
The first teeth that children get; also called baby teeth
The amount you have to pay out of pocket before your dental insurance kicks in.
Erosion of the enamel that covers the tooth surface | Read more…
The thinning of dental enamel.
A facility where dentures and other dental prosthetics are created and repaired | Read more…
A general term for traveling abroad to receive less expensive dental care | Read more…
The layer of the tooth just underneath the enamel
The development and arrangement of teeth
An old word for toothpaste.
A removable or fixed replacement for damaged or missing teeth; complete dentures replace the entire set of teeth, and partial dentures replace some teeth but not all | Read more…
A type of glue used to temporarily hold dentures in place.
Solutions such as creams, pastes, and gels that are used to clean removable dentures.
A gap between the upper front teeth | Read more…
The side of the tooth away from the midline of the mouth
A medical condition where not enough saliva is produced; may be due to medications, other medical ailments, tobacco use, and certain medical treatments; also called xerostomia | Read more…
A complication that can result after a tooth extraction when a blood clot either doesn’t form or comes loose, which leaves the socket and bone unprotected | Read more…
Swelling and inflammation
The condition of having no remaining teeth
Having no teeth
The ability of something to work as it was designed.
The hard, mineralized external layer of the tooth above the gum line
See root canal.
A dental specialist who focuses on the treatment and study of dental pulp and teeth roots, particularly root canal procedures | Read more…
The process of teeth emerging through the gums
Related to appearance and beauty. Also spelled ‘aesthetic.’
Tooth removal | Read more…
A type of tooth restoration where lost tooth portions are filled with metal, composite resin, or porcelain | Read more…
The molars that are closest to the front of the mouth.
A naturally existing groove on the surface of a tooth
A dental prosthesis that cannot be removed
The process of lifting gum tissue away from the tooth for deeper cleaning
The process of using a thread-like material to clean in between teeth and keep the contact points between teeth free of debris and plaque | Read more…
A mineral that makes tooth enamel stronger | Read more…
This liquid contains fluoride and is painted onto the teeth for extra protection.
A condition that results in tooth discoloration due to ingesting too much fluoride during the first 8 years of life | Read more…
A type of surgery done to remove gum tissue
Inflammation of the gums and a type of gum disease caused by the accumulation of plaque and food debris | Read more…
A type of material used for restorations (like fillings) that is partially composed of silicate glass powder
guided tissue regeneration
A procedure that encourages the growth of new gum tissue
A procedure where tissue from the roof of the mouth is surgically attached to an area that needs gum tissue
See receding gums.
Oral tissue that covers the jaw and surrounds the base of the teeth; also known as gingiva
The clinical term for chronic bad breath that does not resolve with basic oral hygiene | Read more…
The roof of the mouth
A dental procedure where half of a tooth is removed; this procedure can only be done on teeth with multiple roots (molars)
An infection of the liver.
A form of dental treatment that seeks to treat total body wellness instead of treating isolated disease; also known as natural dentistry | Read more…
A chemical compound sometimes used in dentistry as a mouthwash or for teeth whitening | Read more…
A specialist who focuses on cleaning and polishing teeth; also known as a dental hygienist
A congenital condition where a person has more than the normal number of teeth | Read more…
A condition where the teeth are more sensitive to pain, cold, heat, and other stimuli | Read more…
A congenital condition where a person has fewer than the normal number of teeth | Read more…
Pain reliever that you can buy over the counter; examples include Motrin and Advil
A general term for the process of taking internal pictures of the teeth and mouth; many imaging techniques are radiographs.
A dental condition where the tooth has either partially grown (erupted) from the gums (partially impacted) or has not grown from the gums at all; this may be due to crowding (like wisdom teeth); impacted teeth are sometimes surgically removed.
A type of dental prosthesis that replaces a missing tooth root and crown | Read more…
The front teeth (upper and lower); humans have eight incisors
A type of indirect tooth restoration that is formed outside the mouth and attached to the inner surfaces between the tips of the teeth
Small dental tools composed of bristles and wire that are designed to clean in between teeth | Read more…
Inside the mouth.
Discoloration of the internal tooth structure
Pieces of bone that make up the mouth and contain the teeth
A protein that is present in the body’s cuticular structures, like hair and skin. Tooth enamel also contains some keratin.
1) The surface that faces the lips; 2) Related to the lips
See nitrous oxide.
An area of disease or injury, such as an abscess, tumor, or ulcer
A condition where thick, white patches form on the tongue and inside of the mouth, sometimes due to smoking; leukoplakia is usually benign
1) The surface of the tooth facing the tongue; 2) Related to the tongue
When the dentist attaches the crown to an implant.
A medical term used to describe a cancerous growth or lesion
A misaligned bite in which the upper and lower teeth do not come together correctly | Read more…
The lower jaw
The upper part of the jaw that is attached to the skull
A general term referring to the face and jaw
A dental specialist who focuses on surgery related to the face and jaw
A minimally invasive procedure that involves using mild abrasive material to restore and shape teeth
The large, multi-rooted teeth in the back of the mouth
Inhaling and exhaling through the mouth instead of the nose, which can lead to dry mouth, potentially causing gum disease or decay | Read more…
A removable dental device that can be worn to prevent teeth grinding or worn during contact activity to prevent injury
A product used to rinse the mouth to freshen breath and kill bacteria; also known as a mouthrinse | Read more…
See holistic dentistry.
A body system component that sends signals to and from the brain, such as pain
A removable dental device that can be worn at night to prevent teeth grinding, often made from flexible acrylic
A chemical compound used to sedate patients and provide some relief from pain; also known as laughing gas
A group of over the counter medicines that are anti-inflammatory and nonsteroidal, used to relieve pain.
The general term referring to the contact/alignment between the teeth
Also known as recontouring, this mostly cosmetic procedure reshapes the teeth
A tooth restoration created in a dental lab that covers most/part of the tooth
A type of misalignment that exists when the jaw is closed and the upper teeth do not overlap over the bottom teeth | Read more…
A type of prescription pain reliever that is known for causing addiction
Related to the mouth.
oral and maxillofacial surgeon
A dental specialist who focuses on surgery related to the inside of the mouth, as well as the face and jaw | Read more…
The inside of the mouth
A condition caused by the herpes simplex virus-1 that results in lesions inside and outside the oral cavity | Read more…
The practice of keeping the teeth and mouth clean to prevent disease; includes brushing and flossing | Read more…
oral lichen planus
A condition that can cause burning or pain, appearing as white patches or swollen sores in the mouth.
The lining, or ‘skin’, of the inside of the mouth
A dental specialist who focuses on surgery related to the inside of the mouth
The general term for fixed and removable devices used with issues related to misaligned teeth and jaws
Treatment to straighten teeth and fix alignment problems, like braces.
A specialist who focuses on issues related to misaligned teeth and jaws | Read more…
osteonecrosis of the jaws
Severe jaw bone loss.
A disease that causes bones to become weaker.
Medications that you can buy without a doctor’s prescription.
A teeth alignment condition where the upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw | Read more…
An alignment condition where there is not enough room in the mouth to accommodate tooth growth; also known as crowding or dental crowding | Read more…
An alignment condition where the upper teeth extend outward; sometimes called ‘buck teeth’
An alignment condition that can result from long-term pacifier use or thumb-sucking | Read more…
The roof of the mouth that extends into the sinus cavity
A method of treatment that typically eases discomfort but may not treat the root cause
A type of gum tissue graft that takes gum tissue from near the area of gum surgery to cover areas of lost tissue
Pediatric dentistry | Read more…
A dental specialist who focuses on treating child and adolescent teeth; also known as a pediatric dentist
An infection that develops around implants and that can cause bone loss.
The area and tissue surrounding the tip of a tooth root
The tissues and structures that surround and support the teeth (gums)
A branch of dentistry that deals with gum disease and other gum issues
A dentist who specializes in treating gum disease and gum-related problems | Read more…
Also known as gum disease and periodontal disease, this condition refers to the inflammation and infection of gum tissue
Adult teeth; adults have 32 permanent teeth
A sticky film that forms on the surface of the teeth, which can eventually harden into tartar and lead to decay | Read more…
A type of restoration material (like crowns) that is strong, stain-resistant, and tooth-colored and composed of lab-made ceramic
A metal shaft that is implanted in the jaw and forms the base for dental implants and bridges
A general term referring to the rear/back; premolars and molars are considered posterior teeth
The tooth that is located in between the canine and the molar; adults have four premolars
Baby teeth; these are the first teeth to emerge in human development, and children have 20 primary teeth | Read more…
Teeth cleaning performed by a dentist that removes plaque and calculus from teeth.
A replacement for missing teeth; dentures, veneers, crowns, implants, and bridges are types of prostheses
A branch of dentistry that deals with dental prostheses and missing teeth
A dental specialist who focuses on missing teeth and dental prosthetics
The inner part of the tooth structure that contains blood vessels and nerves
A dental condition where the pulp (part of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves) dies; also known as a dead tooth | Read more…
A dental condition that causes pain, swelling and sensitivity in the dental pulp, the tissue that surrounds the root of the tooth | Read more…
One of four sections of the mouth that begins at the midline of the arch and goes to the back tooth.
A type of image created by x-rays or other types of radiation (like gamma rays)
A specialist who focuses on taking and interpreting x-rays and other radiographic images
A denture replacement procedure where the denture base is replaced, but not the teeth
A type of gum disease that occurs when gums pull back, or recede, away from the teeth, exposing more teeth surfaces and roots; usually affects the smile | Read more…
The process of reshaping the outer edges of the teeth; sometimes called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing | Read more…
The process of refitting the dentures to fit the gums correctly; this is done when gums recede or dentures become loose in some way | Read more…
See composite resin.
A general term for techniques used to preserve or replace teeth, such as fillings, implants, bridges, and root canals
A branch of dentistry focused on preserving tooth structure and restoring damage | Read more…
A type of orthodontic device used after orthodontic treatment to keep the teeth in position | Read more…
The bottom part of the tooth, including the bottom tip, that anchors the tooth in place
1) The passageway into the root of the tooth that contains pulp, blood vessels, and nerves; 2) Root canal treatment (also known as endodontic treatment) involves cleaning the root canal and repairing damage in the area in order to protect the tooth | Read more…
A process where rough root surfaces are smoothed to remove bacteria; also known as deep cleaning | Read more…
The fluid produced by the salivary glands, which keeps the oral cavity moist
A dental procedure done to clean calculus and plaque from the teeth
A type of thin dental coating meant to cover the teeth to prevent tooth decay; applied during a dental cleaning | Read more…
The general term for the tools and techniques meant to cause relaxation and drowsiness
A branch of dentistry that focuses on providing medication to patients to encourage relaxation and drowsiness | Read more…
The general term for a medication administered to cause relaxation, drowsiness, and pain relief
A dental condition where more pain or sensation in the teeth is felt due to stimuli such as cold or heat
A surgical procedure where bone is added to the upper jaw that is often done in preparation for dental implants | Read more…
Spaces in your facial bones, in the forehead on either side of your eyes.
An illness where the immune system attacks itself. It can cause dry mouth and dry eyes, along with other symptoms.
A cosmetic consultation to develop a plan to whiten, straighten, and overall improve one’s smile
The process of using one or more cosmetic dental procedures to improve one’s smile | Read more…
A condition involving teeth staining and possibly gum disease or tooth decay as a result of smoking | Read more…
A type of graft procedure done in the ‘hole’ from a tooth extraction to keep the bone intact for a dental implant
The flexible part of the roof of the mouth
A small rubber band or ring that is placed around teeth to create a gap; this is done during dental procedures and to help make room for braces
Tooth discoloration due to food, drink, and tobacco, and even medications; intrinsic staining refers to discoloration of the internal structure of the tooth
Irritation of the soft tissue in and around the mouth
A stitch or series of stitches used in surgical procedures to hold the edges of a wound or incision together
Hardened plaque on the surface of the teeth that contributes to tooth decay
The process that young children undergo when teeth first emerge from the gums | Read more…
The joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull
temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Issues related to pain, clicking, stiffness, and locking of the jaw; sometimes called TMJ or TMJ syndrome
Teeth discoloration due to the antibiotic tetracycline | Read more…
A therapy or treatment to help control or eliminate illnesses or other health problems.
A condition caused by yeast overgrowth, specifically Candida albicans; thrush can be caused by illness, certain medical conditions, and smoking; also known as oral candidiasis | Read more…
A tool used to clean the tongue in order to reduce bacteria; a tongue scraper is used in addition to brushing. | Read more…
A condition in young children where the frenulum linguae (the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is shorter or tighter than normal | Read more…
The damage to the tooth surface or enamel caused by bacteria | Read more…
A rare dental condition where the body starts to absorb part of the tooth | Read more…
A medication placed on a tissue surface (like skin or gums) to numb an area before a procedure
The general term for any sort of injury or damage to the teeth, bones, or nearby tissues
A condition where the jaw cannot be opened completely; this can be temporary or permanent; also known as lockjaw
A benign lesion inside the mouth; also known as a canker sore | Read more…
A tool that uses high-frequency waves for imaging and dental procedures (such as cleaning)
An alignment condition where the lower teeth extend further forward than the upper teeth | Read more…
A general term for when a tooth does not emerge from the gums
A type of dental restoration that involves placing a thin shell over the tooth enamel; often used in cosmetic dentistry | Read more…
A natural or synthetic product used to cover the pointed edges of orthodontic devices (like braces) to prevent damage to oral tissues | Read more…
A dental treatment that involves using bleaching elements to reduce discoloration | Read more…
The most posterior teeth in the mouth, which emerge in adolescence; also called third molars | Read more…
There you have it! A digital dental dictionary packed full of all of the dental terminology you could possibly want to know. In our dental glossary, we cover:
- Dental procedures: Here you have your dental vocabulary and dentist medical terminology for the procedures that dentists perform. From root canals to extractions, dental terminology abbreviations, and more!
- Parts of the mouth: We get into the nitty-gritty of dental nomenclature with definitions including the medical terminology for the mouth, the medical term for teeth, and other basic dental terminology.
- Tooth anatomy: We provide special tooth nomenclature and obscure dental definitions like the medical term for missing teeth,
- Dental professions: Let this also serve as your dentistry dictionary to expand your dentistry vocabulary with the various medical terms for dentists, such as endodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, and more!