Learn the Meanings of Common Dental Terminology

Archive for jaw bone

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Also known as TMJD, TMD or TMJ Syndrome is a condition on which a person may experience pain in the jaw joint. This joint connects the temporal bone of the skull located on the sides of your head to the mandible or jaw bone. It is a complex joint which allows rotation and translation from side to side the position of the jaw bone. Some people can exhibit a clicking or popping sound with their jaw. This usually means that they have worn down the cartilage. When there is inflammation in this joint it can put pressure on the jaw bone’s trigeminal nerve.

Because the cartilage doesn’t have nerve endings, the pain is not experienced directly at the mandibular joint, however, pain can be felt in surrounding areas associated with the mandibular joint like the ear. TMJ is often associated with ear pain. If there is pressure on the trigeminal nerve the pain can be constant whether you are moving the jaw bone or not.

People who grind there teeth can be more susceptible to developing TMJ as it can cause an abnormal alignment of the jaw bone which can stress areas of the mandibular joint. Also, trauma to the jaw bone or over-opening can lead to TMJ.

Common treatment for TMJ include dental restoration to improve how the teeth come together. Nighttime mouth guards to help eliminate grinding. Nighttime EMG biofeedback. For extreme cases, reconstructive surgery may be an option.


A Bitewing is a radiographic view (x-ray) of of the posterior teeth. It is called a Bitewing because of the little tab of paper or plastic placed in the center of the X-ray film that the patient bites on. This gives a perfect perpendicular view of the the rear teeth and their relation with the jaw bone to help aid in the detection of caries. These are never used on the front teeth.

Dental Implant

Missing teeth can be replaced with molded fake teeth with dental implants. These implants function like regular teeth and are attached directly to the jaw bone.  They are attached to the jaw bone with a titanium root device like a metal screw. Your bone tissue will fuse to the titanium. Implants may feel a little different when chewing because they don’t have the nerves and ligament support that your other teeth have.

Known has the father of modern implant dentistry, Dr. Leonard Linkow started doing dental implants as early as 1952. He has published 12 books and registered 36 patents.

Wisdom Teeth

Most people get a 3rd and final set of molars called Wisdom Teeth in their later teens to early twenties. If you are lucky your wisdom teeth will come in and give your mouth a full set of teeth, but for most, wisdom teeth come through misaligned and need to be taken out. Some people are really lucky and don’t have wisdom teeth at all.

Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that are trapped in-between the soft tissue and the jaw bone. If the tooth only breaks through the gum partially it exposes the gum to bacteria and infection.

Your dentist can show you if you have wisdom teeth and where they are located with an x-ray image. A dentist may also recommend to have the wisdom teeth removed before they become a problem. Oral surgery is required to remove wisdom teeth. Recovery time varies depending on the position of the teeth to be extracted and the age of the patient.

A local anesthetic is used, but you may want to request a strong sedative if you have anxiety about the procedure.

The patient will most like experience facial swelling around where the teeth were pulled. Pain medication may be taken like Tylenol, but stronger pain relievers may be prescribed by your dentist or surgeon. Recovery may take a few days.