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Professional Dental Terminology for the Dental Assistant and Hygienist

Course Number: 542


abutment teeth – The natural teeth that have been prepared to hold the attachment crowns for a bridge.

acidulated phosphate fluoride – Also known as APF. It works on demineralization of enamel to help it re-mineralize faster by the absorption of fluoride ions. It cannot be used on surfaces that have glass ionomer restorations or any restoration containing glass particles. It has a pH of 3 to 4 and can dissolve glass.

alveolar process – Bone that covers the maxilla and mandible.

amalgam – An alloy that contains mercury, silver and other metals and is used as a posterior restoration.

anterior – Toward the midline or in the front of the mouth. The teeth from the canines forward are considered anterior teeth.

anterior teeth – Teeth from the canines forward.

antimicrobial therapy (Periodontal) – Use of a substance that will kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Often, in the oral cavity, this is a solution or gel that is placed in the periodontal pocket.

bridge – A non-removable restoration that replaces a missing tooth or teeth. It is made of either gold or porcelain.

buccal – The tooth surface that is toward the cheeks or face.

calculus – Hard, mineral deposits that form on the teeth. This is what is removed during the scaling process.

canines – The teeth that form the corners of the mouth. These teeth have the longest roots of any tooth type.

caries – Commonly known as cavities or tooth decay.

carious lesion – A single area of tooth decay.

cementum – The substance that covers the outside of the root of the tooth.

composite – One of the materials that can be used for a tooth colored restoration. It is typically made of a resin material.

crown – The portion of the tooth that is covered in enamel. This is the portion of the tooth we see in the oral cavity.

crown (restoration) – A non-removable permanent restoration for a single tooth. This restoration is usually made of either gold or porcelain.