Lay term: Tartar
Definition: Hard, calcium-like deposits which form on the teeth.
Usage: Supragingival calculus accumulates most easily on the lingual surface of the lower anterior teeth.
Alternate term: Cuspids
Lay term: Eye teeth
Definition: Sharp, pointed, tearing teeth. There are two located in each jaw.
Usage: Maxillary canines have the longest roots of any teeth.
Lay term: Cavity or cavities
Definition: Dental disease that refers to tooth decay.
Usage: Strategies to reverse or arrest caries include fluoridated dentifrices, mouthwashes, and remineralization agents.
Lay term: Cavity
Definition: An area of demineralized or decalcified enamel.
Usage: Dentists use radiographs and visual-tactile inspection to detect carious lesions.
Definition: Thin, calcified bone-like tissue covering the root of the tooth and providing an attachment for periodontal fibers within the periodontal ligament.
Usage: Cigarette smoking has been shown to reduce cementum formation and impair the self-healing capacity of periodontal tissues. Additionally, it is important to note that cementum is a softer material than enamel and can be more susceptible to decay.
Lay term: Two front teeth
Definition: First teeth in the front center of the mouth with flat edges for biting.
Usage: Adults typically have two maxillary central incisors and two mandibular central incisors.
Lay terms: White filling, tooth-colored filling, bonding
Definition: A tooth-colored filling, usually made of resins and other filler materials, used mostly as a substitute for amalgam that is either cured with light or self-cures chemically.
Usage: Composites are made to match natural tooth color.
Definition: The small area where the proximal surfaces of two adjacent teeth touch each other.
Usage: A small amount of pressure or a slight back-and-forth motion can help guide dental floss through the contact point.
Alternate term: Esthetic restoration
Definition: A composite, crown, veneer, or other treatment that improves the appearance of a patient’s teeth.
Usage: Cosmetic restorations may improve self-esteem and body image.
Lay term: Tooth
Definition: The visible, external portion of the tooth above the gum line that is either natural or artificial.
Usage: A porcelain crown may be placed when a tooth’s natural crown has decayed.
Lay term: Cap
Definition: An artificial replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding part or all of the remaining structure with a material, such as metal, porcelain, or a combination of materials.
Usage: The materials used for optimal crown restoration depend on how the natural crown was fractured.
Definition: The "hills" on the occlusal surface of posterior teeth.
Usage: Because the cusps on human teeth are areas of thickened enamel that function to apply concentrated biting and grinding forces to food, plaque easily accumulates on the occlusal surface.