Learn the Meanings of Common Dental Terminology

Archive for Dental Definition


This is a dental procedure where the pulp in the pulp chamber of the tooth is removed as well as the root canal. When tooth pulp gets infected and can not be treated any other way, a pulpectomy helps prevent the spread of infection that could cause e the lose of one or more teeth.
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Also known as dental prosthetics. This is a dental specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of the oral function including comfort and appearance of missing or abnormal teeth.
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This is a medical term that means to prevent disease. This is oppose to curing or treating a medical condition.

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A dental crown is a type of dental implant used to improve or strengthen the appearance of teeth. You may need to have a crown implanted if your tooth has a large enough cavity that may compromise the integrity of the tooth.

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This is a medical location term meaning around the apex of the root of a tooth. For example, in describing a periapical abscess an inflammation of the periapical tissues is characterized by a local accumulation of suppuration at the apex of a tooth. It is generally considered one of the phases of pulp death in the tooth.


This is a dental profession specialty that concerns itself with proper bite.  Orthodontists want you to have perfect straight teeth. If they are not, they can attach wires that help force teeth to align properly. We call them braces. Modern techniques include the product Invisalign and Suresmile. Retainers are used as a post therapy to maintain teeth in their proper position sometimes for six months or more.


When a new adult molar is erupts from the jaw incorrectly this is called an impaction. A variety of dental problems can develop when new teeth and especially wisdom teeth do not form properly. Many times this is because there just isn’t enough room for the new tooth.


Compounds containing fluoride are used for the prevention of tooth decay. Most commonly found in toothpaste and mouthwash, it is also added to the public drinking water in the US.

Fluoridation develops low concentrations of fluoride ions in saliva and helps the formation of fluorapatite that remineralizes teeth enamel. Adding calcium to fluoride treatments helps reduce cavities even more,


This is a thread like bundle of nylon strings that helps remove food between teeth. It can be flavored and also with wax added. In order to reduce gingivitis it is recommended to include flossing in addition to brushing your teeth daily.

You hold the floss between your fingers and slide the floss between your teeth. Some people have found this difficult to do. There are a variety of floss products to try.

Floss was invented by Levi Spear Parmly in 1815. Parmly practices as a dentist in New Orleans. Johnson & Johnson Corp. received the first patent for dental floss in 1898.


The term refers to not having any teeth, toothless or complete edentulism. Edentulism is the condition of losing teeth. Some animals are known to not have any teeth. They are described as being edentulous. Some examples are anteaters, sloths and armadillos.

While some animals can get away with not having any teeth we humans need them. Not only are they important for cutting and chewing food, they support the fullness of the face aesthetically. Teeth also play an important part of enunciating certain sounds for speaking.