Appointment Information




When the inside of the mouth gets hurt or irritated, bacteria may enter and cause an infection. Sometimes you will see a painful swelling filled with pus (a thick, yellowish fluid). If the pus can’t drain, the area becomes more swollen and painful. This is known as an abscess. The abscess forms a barrier around the infection. This is one way the body keeps a bacterial infection from spreading.

Acid Reflux

It is also referred to as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a chronic digestive disease that can erode the teeth and irritate the lining of the esophagus. GERD occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus and enters the mouth, possibly causing damage to the enamel of the teeth.

Acidic Foods

Highly acidic foods can cause tooth erosion (dental erosion), which is the irreversible loss of tooth structure. These foods include soft drinks, which contain phosphoric acid; fruits and fruit juices, which contain citric acids; yogurt, which has lactic acid and sweeteners, which contain sugar or corn syrup.

Acrylic Resin

A hard, glassy plastic is often used with other materials to create custom orthodontics, fillings, and dentures.

ADA Seal of Approval

The ADA Seal of Approval is the gold standard among dental professionals and consumers who look for it when purchasing toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouth rinses. This is a Seal Program developed by the American Dental Association (ADA) to approve that a dental product is safe and has clinical effectiveness. This Seal Program is a choice that dental and oral care manufacturing companies can choose to participate in.

Advanced Periodontitis

In this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone supporting the teeth are destroyed, which can cause teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect the bite; if aggressive treatment can’t save them, teeth may need to be removed.


An inexpensive filling material made from silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury. Mercury is nearly 50 percent of the mixture. This material is strong but can tarnish or corrode over time.


numbing agent that dulls pain in all or part of the mouth during dental work. This drug is injected into the cheek or gums and can last for hours.

Arterial Plaque

Arterial plaque, also known as clogged arteries, develops from a fatty buildup called plaque in the inner walls of the arteries of the heart. Published clinical studies have found that plaque in the heart arteries can lead to a heart attack or stroke, and it is vital to clean the mouth effectively to prevent this from occurring. Bacteria that form at the gumline and on the teeth may enter the bloodstream during chewing, oral hygiene care (brushing/flossing), or a professional cleaning appointment.

Automatic Flosser

This flossing device can be a battery or an electrically operated device. It works like dental floss and can be used for people with difficulty flossing. Cleaning between the teeth helps to remove bacterial plaque formation and food debris and makes the gum tissue healthier.

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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

A form of tooth decay caused by constant sucking on a baby bottle. When a child is allowed to sip a baby bottle throughout the day without interruption, the sugars and carbohydrates provide an unending food source for the bacteria that cause cavities.

Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are referred to as primary teeth. These teeth begin to form between 6 months and one year of age. The American Dental Association recommends that children visit their dentist after the first tooth erupts in the mouth. The dentist can check a baby’s teeth to evaluate if tooth decay has occurred. It is also important that the dental hygienist review brushing instructions with the parents to make sure the teeth are healthy and clean. When the baby teeth are lost between 6 years and 12 years of age, permanent teeth will replace the baby teeth.

Bad Breath

The breakdown of food usually causes foul-smelling breath. Other culprits include poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, disease, infection, tobacco use, and severe dieting.


Also called premolars, these teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface. The premolars are for crushing and tearing.


The overall alignment of teeth. This includes how the upper and lower jaw fit together and the spacing between teeth and lips. Most irregularities can be fixed through orthodontics for comfort or appearance.


Many teeth whitening options help remove extrinsic stains, such as coffee, tea, wine, or tobacco. These whitening procedures may include using whitening toothpaste (for example, Colgate® Optic White™) to start and then at-home bleaching or in-office bleaching as other options to enhance the teeth and smile.

Bleeding Gums

Gums may bleed after brushing or flossing, but persistent bleeding is not normal. If bleeding frequently occurs when you brush your teeth or floss, this could be a sign of gingivitis or inflammation of the gum line, which is caused by the development of plaque biofilm. You should see your dental professional for an oral examination and professional cleaning.


Bonding is the application of a tooth-colored composite resin (plastic) to repair a decayed, chipped, fractured, or discolored tooth. Unlike veneers, which are manufactured in a laboratory and require a customized mold to achieve a proper fit, bonding can be done in a single visit. The procedure is called bonding because the material bonds to the tooth.


An appliance used to move teeth into their proper alignment gradually. Wires are bonded to the teeth and tightened over time to align the teeth. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which may be achieved within a few months to a few years.


A fixed but removable denture made to replace one or more missing teeth. Natural teeth, implants, or a combination of teeth and implants can support bridges.


Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes helps to remove food particles that can damage teeth and gums over time.


The grinding or clenching of teeth, sometimes during sleep. Many believe this grinding is caused by stress or anxiety, but it can also occur due to misaligned teeth, disease, or medicines.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

A painful oral condition that affects the tongue, gums, lips, inside of the cheeks, and roof of the mouth. The cause of primary burning mouth syndrome may be related to problems with taste and sensory nerves, and the cause of secondary burning mouth syndrome could be related to nutritional deficiency, dry mouth, allergies to foods or flavoring, and certain medications.

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Calcium, like vitamin D and other vitamins and minerals, is essential to good oral and body health. Calcium can be found naturally in dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt and can be taken as a supplement to prevent osteoarthritis.


Sometimes called cuspids, these teeth at the front of the mouth are shaped like points (cusps) and are used for tearing food.

Canker Sore

Swellings, spots, or sores on the mouth, lips, or tongue. Unlike cold sores, these are not contagious and are usually caused by stress, allergies, or vitamin deficiencies.


A tooth-shaped crown is cemented over a tooth, completely encasing the visible portion of the tooth. Caps improve a tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance.

Cast Gold

A gold alloy used to replace or fill teeth. Casting gold is more expensive and can create a shock when two gold teeth are next to each other in the mouth.

Cavities / Caries

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that break down sugar into acid. Early decay, called dental caries, can be prevented with fluoride.

Cavity Prevention

Regular and thorough toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste will decrease plaque buildup on the surface of your teeth and provide fluoride to strengthen the teeth. Foods and carbohydrates that are high in sugar content increase the risk of developing cavities because the plaque bacteria will use them as food to produce acids that can dissolve tooth enamel (the outer layer of the tooth).


Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria; a person does not have to have a break in the skin to get it. Cellulitis can occur anywhere in the body, usually the legs, face, or arms. Many people experience this condition from skin problems (eczema, psoriasis), a cut or surgical wound, a burn or insect bite, or certain systemic diseases such as diabetes or a weak immune system.


Porcelain is most commonly used for inlays/onlays and crowns. Ceramics are tooth-colored but more brittle than composite resin.


Checkups almost always include a complete dentist or dental hygienist cleaning. Using special instruments, a dental hygienist will scrape below the gumline, removing built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath, and other problems. The dentist or hygienist may also polish and floss your teeth.

Cleft Palate

Structures of the palate have not properly closed, leaving an opening in the roof of the mouth. This can be inherited from one or both parents or caused by environmental issues during pregnancy, such as smoking, alcohol or drug use, consumption of prescription medications, virus exposure, or nutritional deficiency.

Cold Sore

Cold sores usually appear as clusters of tiny blisters on the lip. Cold sores and fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). This virus is passed from person to person by saliva (either directly or by drinking from the same glass or cup) or skin contact. Most people are first infected with HSV-1 before they are ten years old.

Composite Resin

A mixture of plastic and fine glass particles is used for fillings. This filling type is midrange in price, tooth-colored, and fairly strong.

Connective Tissue Graft

The dentist recommends a connective tissue graft when a person has gum recession (gums are lower on the tooth surface). The graft tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and then placed onto the tooth or teeth that have gum recession and then stitched into place. This procedure is usually performed by a periodontist, a dental specialist who treats the gums and underlying bones of the teeth in the mouth.

Cosmetic Dentistry

This form of dentistry improves the appearance of teeth. This includes procedures like whitening, bonding, and orthodontics.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Cracks that are too small to show up on X-rays. Sometimes the cracks are under the gum. The tooth may sometimes hurt when biting or chewing.


crown is a tooth-shaped cover placed over a tooth that is badly damaged or decayed. A crown is made to look like a tooth. Many people call it a cap. A crown is also the name for the very top surface of a tooth.


These teeth near the front of the mouth are shaped like points (cusps) and are used for tearing food. They are also called canines.


cyst is a thin, fluid-filled sac that can appear on the gum tissue, roof of the mouth, or lips. A cyst may go away on its own or must be evaluated by a dentist or specialist to determine if it should be removed by surgery.

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Dental Composites

synthetic resin is used to restore or adhere teeth. These composites may include a mixture of plastic and glass fiber.

Dental Grills

A cosmetic, metal, and sometimes jeweled tooth covering developed in the 1980s by hip-hop artists. This removable accessory can cause damage to the teeth when not properly maintained or professionally crafted.

Dental Implant

Dental implants are metal posts or frames surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gums. Once in place, they allow the dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are plastic coatings usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth – the molars and premolars – to help protect them from decay.


The porous layer of the tooth protects the nerve. When this layer is exposed, it can cause tooth sensitivity.

Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives are used to secure the denture in the mouth to prevent it from slipping or moving. Various denture adhesives are available as pastes (cream/gel form), powders, or wafers. Adhesives aren’t always necessary for every denture wearer. Talk to your dentist to determine if denture adhesives are right for you.


Replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into the mouth. Today’s dentures look natural and comfortable in full or partial sets.

Diabetes & Other Endocrine Disorders

A disorder that inhibits the body’s ability to use blood sugar. Research shows an increased prevalence of gum disease among people with diabetes.


space or gap between two teeth. It appears most often between the two upper front teeth. However, gaps can occur between any two teeth.

Distal Cavities

An area of tooth decay that occurs on the back surface of your tooth away from the middle portion of the tooth surface. These types of cavities often occur on the part of a tooth that faces an adjacent “mesial” tooth surface. The terms “distal” and “mesial” denote the location of a cavity relative to the front of the jaw. “Distal” means toward the back, and “mesial” means toward the front of the tooth.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth (xerostomia) is the condition of insufficient saliva to keep the mouth wet. Without enough saliva, tooth decay or other infections can develop in the mouth. You also might not get the nutrients you need if you cannot chew and swallow certain foods.

Dry Socket

Painful exposed bone or nerve in the space where an extracted tooth used to reside. This occurs when a blood clot forms in the socket, then break down or is dislodged. A dentist should be contacted if you believe you have a dry socket.

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Eating Disorders

These disorders can cause serious challenges to a person’s everyday diet (overeating or not eating enough food) and are most common in teenagers and young adults. Anorexia (extreme thinness) and bulimia (frequent occurrences of eating large amounts of food and then regurgitating) are the two most common eating disorders. They can cause serious tooth erosion of the enamel (outside layer of the tooth), dentin (second layer of the tooth), and dental cavities in the mouth. Frequent vomiting causes stomach acid to cover the teeth and wear the enamel and possibly the dentin away. Additionally, a high intake of carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay. Studies report that individuals with these eating disorders also have poor oral hygiene and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).


Tooth enamel is the body’s hardest and most highly mineralized subs, one of the four major tissues that make up the tooth. It is the normally visible dental tissue of a tooth and is supported by the underlying dentin.


The branch of dentistry deals with diseases of the tooth’s pulp. A dentist specializing in endodontics performs surgeries such as root canals.


I am wearing away the enamel due to a chemical acid process. This acid could be gastric or from the diet.

Estrogen levels

Changes in hormone levels can cause oral health problems for women. During pregnancy, the increased level of progesterone can cause pregnancy gingivitis. During puberty, gums can become more sensitive. Some of the same symptoms can occur during menstruation, including the development of canker sores. Finally, during menopause, women may experience an alteration in taste, burning sensation, decreased saliva flow, and sensitivity to cold or hot beverages or foods.

Estrogen Replacement

Research shows that after menopause, women are affected by a decrease in estrogen in their bodies, making them susceptible to periodontal disease and possibly osteoporosis. Research studies have shown that estrogen supplementation will help them prevent tooth loss. Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than women who do not have osteoporosis. Additional research suggests a link between osteoporosis and loss of bone in the jaw.

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Facial Cavities

Facial cavities are areas of tooth decay that face the cheeks and lips in your mouth. The term “facial” denotes the location of the cavity on the tooth surface where the front of the tooth is adjacent to the back or “distal” of another tooth.

Fever Blister

Cold sores usually appear as clusters of tiny blisters on the lip. Cold sores and fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). This virus is passed from person to person by saliva (either directly or by drinking from the same glass or cup) or skin contact. Most people are first infected with HSV-1 before they are ten years old.


It is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, they remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material.


Flavonoids are antioxidants that help to slow the progression of oxidation and protect the cell membrane from free radicals that promote cancer and can damage cells. Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory benefits too. People who are deficient in this also experience more frequent bruising.

Flipper Denture

flipper denture is the least expensive temporary denture that usually replaces one or more front teeth. Flipper dentures are only used until a permanent denture (usually a bridge or sometimes a dental implant) is made and is ready to be inserted.


You use special thread-like material to remove plaque and food particles in places a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.


natural mineral found in water and Earth’s crust. It helps prevent cavities by hardening the enamel.


White or brown spots on the enamel are caused by consuming too much fluoride while teeth form. Fluorosis is a purely cosmetic condition that does not develop after teeth erupt.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin usually seen in green leafy vegetables, peas, nuts, and fruits. It is a necessary vitamin to help form healthy cells in the body. Research suggests that folic acid is associated with less bleeding in people with gingivitis. Many people in the U.S. already receive folic acid in their diets because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires folic acid to be added to grain products seen in multivitamin products.


Tooth fractures can involve the tooth (enamel and dentin are affected) or the root where a fracture occurred. A composite filling or a crown may be needed in a tooth fracture to resolve the problem. Less serious fractures are small cracks in the enamel that may not result in pain or sensitivity but may become larger. In the case of a root fracture, the root may become loose, the pulp may be affected, and the root may need to be extracted. See a dentist immediately for an oral evaluation.

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GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a chronic digestive disease that can erode the teeth and irritate the lining of the esophagus. Many people refer to it as acid reflux. During acid reflux episodes, small amounts of stomach acid travel into your mouth and can damage the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) and the dentin (layer of the tooth under the enamel).

Gingival Hyperplasia

Gingival hyperplasia is a condition in which the gum tissue may become overgrown in the mouth. It is usually caused by drug-induced medication. People with a history of seizures and taking certain medication(s) may have side effects of gingival hyperplasia.


Bacteria cause inflamed gum tissue in dental plaque. Mild gingivitis causes little or no pain. You might not notice it. If left unchecked, however, it can become severe. In some people, gingivitis develops into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.


Gingivoplasty is a surgical procedure conducted by a periodontist to recontour the gum tissue to normal size and function. This gum surgery is used to reshape gum tissue around the teeth to make them look better from an aesthetic perspective. It is usually recommended for people with teeth that are too small or too wide or have a “gummy smile.”

Glass Ionomer

An acrylic and glass component is used to cement inlays or as filling material. Glass ionomer matches the color of teeth but is weaker than composite resin fillings.

Gold Foil

They are used for small fillings in areas where you don’t chew hard and are sometimes used for repairing crowns. Gold foil requires great skill to place and does not match teeth, so it is quickly moving out of popularity.

Gum Disease

An inflammation of the gum tissue could affect the teeth and supporting bone. Plaque bacteria, acids, and certain foods contribute to the development of gum disease.

Gum Recession

Gum recession results from periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease when loss of supporting bone results in bacterial infection. The gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and may expose the roots below. Gum recession can also be caused by brushing the gum tissue too hard. This often leads to increased tooth sensitivity and damage to newly exposed roots.


Where the tooth and the gums meet, without proper brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up at the gum line, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.


Gums are the soft tissue lining that surrounds the teeth and covers the mouth’s upper and lower jaw bones. When healthy, the gum tissue is usually pink. When inflammation occurs, the tissue may become red and inflamed and bleed.

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The professional term for bad breath. It can be caused by poor dental hygiene, infection, diet, dry mouth, or illness.

Hormone Levels

Changes in hormone levels can cause gum tissue oral health issues when plaque biofilm is present in the mouth. During menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, hormonal fluctuation will affect oral health. To lower your risk of gum disease and other complications during these instances, practice good oral hygiene (toothbrushing and flossing) and schedule regular dental visits to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.


A licensed dental professional trained to clean teeth, take x-rays and perform other services.


Hyperglycemia is high blood sugar and occurs when the body has too little insulin or doesn’t use enough insulin. The symptoms of hyperglycemia are high blood glucose levels, high levels of sugar in the urine, frequent urination, dry mouth, and an increase in thirst. Hyperglycemia also affects the oral cavity by causing an increase in the risk of infections. It is important to see your physician for a complete blood workup to determine treatment.


Painful tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods and drinks. Exposed root areas of the tooth typically cause it.

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Impacted Tooth

Teeth that fail to emerge through the gums or only partially at the expected time. This usually occurs with wisdom teeth between 17 and 21 years old.

Impacted Wisdom Tooth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in adults aged 17-21. An impacted wisdom tooth (third molar) occurs when there is not enough room for the tooth to erupt in the mouth. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to complications — specifically, pain and damage to the surrounding teeth — if left untreated. The dentist will recommend that you see an oral surgeon to evaluate the X-rays and area in the mouth.


form of the teeth typically used to create orthodontic appliances. The laboratory uses a soft material that sets into a gel to make a copy of the teeth, which is sent back to the dentist.


The sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four uppers, four lower) are used for cutting food.

Infant Sore Gums

Babies suffer from sore gums during the teething process that begins at six months. The signs of teething include drooling, irritability, and sore and tender gums. You can gently ease the pain and discomfort by massaging your baby’s gums with a moistened gauze pad or a damp washcloth. The baby can nibble on a chilled rubber teething ring for relief.

Invisalign Braces

Invisalign braces are a new, innovative way to straighten teeth without silver brackets and bands. They correct orthodontic problems by moving the teeth into the correct alignment. They are clear aligner trays that are worn in the mouth. These aligners are placed over the teeth and can be worn during the day and night.

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Laser Gum Surgery

Dental lasers are used for a variety of gum disease treatments. Lasers can help reduce pocket depth, lengthen a tooth or crown, and help reshape the gum tissue, and can be used for frenectomies to eliminate speech impediments. Patients can have their gum tissue restored to health without incisions, stitches, or traditional gum surgery.


A local anesthetic agent is used to numb the gum tissue before a dental procedure (composite filling, gum surgery). Lidocaine can help prevent pain that may occur during the dental procedure. It usually wears off about two or three hours after surgery.

Lingual Cavities

Lingual is the position or location where tooth decay occurs. Tooth decay will occur on the inside surface of the tooth facing the tongue. Many people who do not effectively brush their teeth along the gumline may have issues of decalcification or decay of the enamel that may occur.

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The medical term for the lower jaw connects to the temporal bone at the side of the head.


Menopause is a normal condition that occurs in women over 40 in the aging process. Menopause affects the body in several ways as well as the oral cavity. Menopausal women may experience an alteration in taste, burning sensation, decreased saliva flow, and sensitivity to cold or hot beverages or foods. Menopausal women may develop osteoporosis (loss of bone density), and the relationship between bone loss and a woman’s risk for periodontal disease is being studied.

Mesial Cavities

Mesial cavities are tooth decay forming on the surface of teeth closest to the middle of the front of the jaw. These types of cavities often occur on the part of a tooth that faces an adjacent distal tooth surface.


Back teeth are used for grinding. These teeth have several cusps on the biting surface.

Mouth-Body Connection

The idea is that what goes on in the mouth can affect the health of the body. For example, an immune system weakened by disease can affect the mouth’s health.

Mouth Guards

An appliance around the teeth is like a tray to protect the teeth, jaw, lips, and tongue. It may also reduce the rate and severity of concussions.


Many types of over-the-counter and prescription mouth rinses are available on the market. Check for the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which the American Dental Association provides to mouth rinses that have been clinically tested and shown to be safe and effective. These mouth rinses may contain fluoride to fight tooth decay, antibacterial ingredients to fight plaque and gingivitis, and other ingredients that can reduce tartar formation or whiten the teeth.

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Natal Teeth

Baby teeth. Teething usually begins between 6 months and one year of age when the first teeth erupt. The last baby’s teeth will erupt by age 3. The natal teeth are also called the primary teeth; a child will have 20 baby teeth.


An element of the tooth pulp that senses pain. The nerve is in the tooth’s center and can be exposed when the enamel is weakened.

Nesbit Denture

Nesbit denture replaces missing teeth in the back of the mouth. Nesbit dentures use metal clasps to attach to nearby healthy natural teeth. Many dentists do not recommend Nesbit dentures because they put a lot of pressure on the surrounding teeth and are more likely to become dislodged than other types of dentures.

Night Guard

A plastic bit piece is used at night to prevent tooth grinding. A dentist can custom-make a night guard if you experience grinding problems.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, sweet-smelling anesthetic gas inhaled with oxygen to help relax anxious dental patients. Nitrous oxide is referred to as conscious sedation. Dental patients may experience a tingling in the arms or legs but will feel calm and relaxed during a dental procedure. Patients will not go to sleep but can hear and respond to any dental professional requests or questions during their dental procedure.

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Oral Bacteria

The human mouth contains many different oral bacteria, both good and bad. Some bacteria in the mouth perform important functions that help keep your mouth healthy. Unfortunately, some bacteria can also damage teeth. Two strains of bacteria found in the mouth are particularly destructive: Streptococcus mutants and lactobacilli. When these and other types of bacteria are allowed to flourish, they produce acid that causes tooth decay. Other oral bacteria that cause periodontal disease are actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, prophyromonas gingivitis, and Bacteroides forsythias. Brushing and flossing teeth daily to prevent damage to teeth and gum tissue caused by oral bacteria that develop in the mouth is very important.

Oral Cancer

A form of cancer usually found on the inside of the mouth. This cancer is characterized by sores that will not heal and sometimes bleed.

Oral Hygiene

Daily oral care for the health of the mouth and teeth. Oral hygiene includes brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods, and frequent dentist trips.

Oral Piercing

A form of self-expression is characterized by piercing the tongue, lips, or cheeks with jewelry. These oral piercings carry risks beyond normal ear piercing.


Orthodontics is a specialty field of dentistry that diagnoses, prevents, and treats irregularities of the teeth and face, including the position of teeth and jaws. Orthodontic care involves the use of appliances.


A dentist specializing in orthodontics treats irregularities in the teeth and face. An orthodontist will diagnose and create tooth appliances to correct these irregularities.


A condition, sometimes called “buck teeth,” in which the upper front teeth lie too far forward (stick out) over the lower teeth. An orthodontist can correct this.

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Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are worn by people who have lost one or more teeth in an area in the mouth. The replacement teeth are attached to a metal framework covered by a pink plastic base colored to look like the gum tissue. Partial dentures usually attach to existing natural teeth with metal or plastic clasps.


Pericoronitis is inflammation and swelling of gum tissue around erupting wisdom teeth, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. It is important to rinse the teeth with warm saline rinses; an antibiotic can be recommended for this condition.

Periodontal Disease

Ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.

Periodontal tissues

The soft and hard tissues surround and support the teeth in the jawbone. They include the gums (gingiva) that cover the bone of the jaw and support the tooth structure inside the alveolar bone, the periodontal ligament (fibers that keep the teeth attached to the jaw), and the bone (alveolar) to which the teeth are in place, nourished and protected.


Untreated gingivitis. A serious infection characterized by swollen, tender gums. Periodontitis destroys tissue and bone. This disease could eventually lead to tooth loss.


Tongue, lip, and mouth piercings can cause several oral health problems. These piercings can fracture the tooth structure and cause the gums to recede. Infections may be common after the initial piercing and cause swelling, bleeding, and pain. Piercings also encourage the buildup of plaque bacteria, leading to gingivitis.

Pit and Fissure Cavities

Pit and fissure cavities are tooth decay that forms in the narrow grooves, pits, and fissures of the premolar and molar teeth on the biting surfaces. Because of how these teeth are shaped, it is often difficult to clean their narrow grooves thoroughly, and bacteria often collect in these areas. Thorough toothbrushing should be conducted carefully to remove food debris and bacterial plaque formation.


Invisible masses of harmful germs live in the mouth and stick to the teeth. Plaque can lead to gum disease and destroy gum tissue and teeth.

Pocket Depth

Gum tissue inflamed or swollen, maybe 4 millimeters or more, and prone to periodontal disease. Dental professionals define “pocket depth” as the crevice or space between the gums and teeth. Normal healthy gums usually have a pocket depth of 1 to 3 millimeters, measured by a dental professional using a periodontal probe.


A filling material can match the tooth’s color and resists staining. Porcelain fillings are priced nearly the same as gold.

Porcelain Crown

A tooth-shaped cover is placed over a tooth that is badly damaged or decayed. Porcelain crowns are made before placement in a laboratory and matched to the appearance of your teeth.


Also referred to as bicuspids, these teeth have two points and are used for crushing and tearing. Premolars are located directly ahead of the molars.


The soft tissue is in the center of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are. If tooth decay reaches the pulp, you usually feel pain.


Pulpitis is inflammation or infection of the pulp (nerve), the tooth’s inner structure containing the nerves and blood vessels. Pulpitis can range from mild to severe. You may experience pain from the pulp or in other areas of the face and mouth.

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Ramus-Frame Implant

An implant is used if the lower jawbone is too thin for other implants. This type of implant leaves a visible, thin metal bar around the top of the gum.


I am regaining the minerals lost inside the enamel crystals through fluoride. These minerals are lost through bacteria feeding on the sugars in the mouth and creating acids.


After completing treatment and removing braces, a retainer is worn to maintain tooth positions. Once the bite has been corrected, bone and gums need more time to stabilize around the teeth.


The part of the tooth that is embedded in bone. The root makes up about two-thirds of the tooth that holds the tooth in place.

Root Canal

A treatment to remove damaged or diseased tooth pulp. Once removed, the remaining space is cleaned, and the tooth is sealed off.

Root-Form Implant

A titanium device is surgically implanted into the jawbone to replace the roots of missing teeth. These implants support crowns, bridges, and dentures.

Root Planing

Smoothing the tooth’s root surfaces to make it more difficult for plaque to accumulate is known as planing. This typically follows scaling to treat periodontal disease.

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Also called spit, this substance helps digestion, protects teeth, and prevents infection. Saliva also makes it possible to chew and swallow food.


A technique for removing plaque, biofilm, and tartar from teeth and below the gum line. Scaling can help reverse the effects of gum disease.


Sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from decay.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands in the body. It is most readily seen in women and causes dry eyes, dry mouth, and swollen salivary glands, and people can suffer from joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Smokeless Tobacco

The two main types of smokeless tobacco are chewing tobacco (loose leaf, plug or twist) and snuff (finely ground tobacco that can be dry, moist, or packaged). Studies have shown chewing or smokeless tobacco can lead to gum recession, gum disease, and tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco can also cause leukoplakia, a precancerous lesion of the mouth’s soft tissue. (It looks like a white patch on the inside cheek and cannot be scraped off).

Smooth Surface Cavities

This is tooth decay that appears on smooth flat surfaces of teeth. As bacteria wear away the enamel, white-spot lesions occur, and the tooth is prone to decay.

Soft Drinks

The American Dental Association refers to soft drinks as drinks containing sugar, carbonation, and acidic products. These include soda, juice drinks, and sports drinks. Drinking soda increases the risk of tooth decay and has been linked to obesity. Milk, fruit juices, and water are healthy alternatives.

Space Maintainers

An appliance used when a baby tooth is lost too early. This space maintainer helps make room for the permanent tooth to enter.

Stomach Acid

Stomach acid can dissolve the enamel of the teeth. Acid from the stomach may be released and go up through the esophagus and into the mouth, known as acid reflux. People who experience this may suffer from loss of tooth enamel due to these acids covering the tooth surfaces, dry mouth, and tooth decay.

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Plaque that has hardened on the teeth. Tartar can form at and underneath the gumline and damage the teeth and gums.


The period when a baby’s primary teeth erupt. During the first few years of life, all 20 teeth will erupt through the gums, which can cause irritability and discomfort during teething.

Temporary Crown

Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and perform the functions of your natural tooth while a permanent crown is being made. The dentist and the permanent crowns can make temporary crowns; the dentist will be sent to a dental laboratory to manufacture them.

Temporary Filling

A dentist will place a temporary filling after tooth decay has been removed from a tooth. The filling material may be a synthetic composite resin, amalgam, or gold.

Temporomandibular Syndrome

disorder in which the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. This can cause headaches, clicking sounds, pain, and a locked jaw.


Thrush is a fungal infection that appears as red or white patches that develop in the mouth. Thrush usually occurs on the tongue and inner side of the cheeks but may spread to the roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils, or even the back of the throat. Symptoms include:

  • White lesions that resemble cottage cheese.
  • Loss of taste.
  • Bleeding if the lesion is scraped or rubbed.
  • Pain and cracking at the corners of the mouth.


Thumb-sucking is a normal habit for toddlers and children. They may suck on their thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers. Thumb-sucking may cause problems in the growth and alignment of the teeth. More aggressive thumb-suckers may have issues occur with their baby teeth. Parents should consult with their dental professional to determine steps to wean their child off of thumb-sucking from ages 2 to 4. Future orthodontic treatment may be necessary for children who thumb-suck.


disorder in which the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. This can cause headaches, clicking sounds, pain, and a locked jaw.

Tongue Cleaning

While a toothbrush can be used, tongue scrapers are much more effective in removing plaque, food debris, and bacteria from the tongue. Colgate has developed a tongue cleaner on the back of its Colgate® 360°® toothbrush to help the public and dental professionals effectively clean their tongue and help to provide a whole mouth clean.


tooth is a small calcified structure found in the jaw used to crush and tear food so it can be swallowed.

Tooth Avulsion

Tooth avulsion occurs when a tooth has been traumatically displaced from its normal position in the mouth due to a blow to the mouth or a dental injury. It is also referred to as tooth luxation. When avulsion occurs, it is very important to consult a dentist to determine if the tooth (primary or permanent) should be put back into place so that the periodontal ligament (fibers that attach to the tooth to support it in place) can reattach to the tooth. An avulsed tooth results in necrosis (dying) of the pulp tissue in the tooth.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the acid erosion of the tooth enamel, causing demineralization that can move into the tooth’s pulp if not treated with fluoride or a filling.

Tooth Discoloration

When stains on the surface or changes in the tooth material change the tooth’s color, these include extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related discoloration.

Tooth Extraction

The removal of a broken or decayed tooth from the socket in the bone. When too much damage prevents repair, the tooth must be removed.

Tooth Mobility

Tooth mobility means that the tooth may be loose. The loose tooth or teeth could move from side to side in the socket (horizontal) or up and down (vertical). Loose teeth can be caused by gum disease, making chewing food difficult. Sometimes, a dentist or dental specialist may determine that the loose teeth need to be extracted.

Tooth Sensitivity

When hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods, drinks, or air make, teeth are sensitive to pain. Sensitivity is usually caused by exposed dentin due to receded gums or periodontal disease.

Tooth Whitening

A process for lightening teeth and removing stains and discoloration. Whitening must be maintained over time.

Transillumination Test

transillumination test is conducted on teeth that do not have a pulp (nerves and blood vessels). The transmitted light shows the root when the pulp is necrotic or replaced by a filling.

Transosseous Implant

A dated form of implant originally used in people with a little lower jawbone. It is rarely used today because extensive surgery is required.

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An underbite produces a “bulldog” appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth are too far back.

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Thin porcelain shells bonded to the front of the teeth to improve appearance. Veneers can fix chipped, stained, misaligned, worn-down, or abnormally spaced teeth.

Vitamin B

B vitamins are essential for energy production, fat, carbohydrate, protein metabolism, nerve and brain health, and the prevention of anxiety and depression. A deficiency of B vitamins can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, a swollen or cracked tongue, and trouble swallowing.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to form and maintain bones, blood vessels, skin, tendons, and ligaments. It is necessary for wound healing, repair of cartilage, and teeth and gingival health. Vitamin C deficiency can slow the healing process and cause gum tissue bleeding. It is vital to have adequate doses of vitamin C. Please consult a nutritionist or your physician.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for bone health, but it also improves a variety of illnesses, such as inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders, and depression. Epidemiological studies have shown that a low vitamin D level increases the risk of osteoporosis, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, some common cancers, Crohn’s disease, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. People can get vitamin D from sunlight several times per week, diet (including milk, eggs, and fish liver oil), and vitamin supplements.


Vitamins and minerals are essential for overall health, and that includes teeth. Tooth enamel needs calcium to stay strong. The stronger your tooth enamel is, the less likely you are to develop a dental cavity. Other vitamins, such as vitamin D, may help promote tooth health. Ask your dentist about a balanced diet and what vitamins or supplements you could take.

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Whitening Gels

Whitening gels are clear, hydrogen peroxide-based gels that are applied to the surface of teeth to bleach or whiten them. The gels can be applied by pen application, strips, or in trays at home over one to two weeks for a good whitening result.

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste contains mild abrasives for effective stain removal and hydrogen peroxide for enhanced whitening. Colgate® offers Colgate® Optic White™ for those who want a whitening toothpaste that provides cavity protection and fresh breath while reducing plaque with regular toothbrushing.

Wisdom Teeth

Many people choose to have wisdom teeth removed. The final molars emerge at the back of the jaw, sometimes with little space left to emerge. This can cause tenderness, swelling, pain, and disease.

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A type of energy that passes through soft tissues and is absorbed by dense tissue. Often, x-rays are used by dentists to see the teeth and roots in the jaw.

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