D

Deciduous Dentition
Alternate term: Primary teeth
Lay term: Baby teeth
Definition: The 20 teeth that erupt from the age of six months and are gradually replaced by the permanent dentition of the adult.
Usage: Because the deciduous dentition hold the spaces for the permanent successors, children should receive a program of regular oral hygiene to maintain these teeth.

Demineralization
Alternate term: Decalcification
Definition: Loss of minerals from the tooth.
Usage: Dental caries begin when acids produced by bacteria erode the enamel surface resulting in demineralization.

Dental Assistant
Definition: Professional trained to support in the clinical practice of dentistry, including basic tray setups, mixing common dental materials, maintaining dental equipment, exposing and processing dental x-ray film, cleaning instruments, taking dental impressions, and educating patients in proper oral hygiene.
Usage: Dental assistants have administrative, chairside, and laboratory skills.

Dental Hygienist
Definition: Professional trained and licensed to provide preventive dental services, such as cleanings, radiographs, sealants, scalings, and root planings, usually with a dentist’s supervision.
Usage: A dental hygienist is a licensed dental care professional with formal education who specializes in preventive care.

Dentin
Alternate term: Dentine (outside the U.S.)
Definition: Sensitive, calcified tissue which forms the bulk of tooth structure and surrounds the pulp.
Usage: Dentin is composed of tubules that act as portals for sensitivity stimuli such as cold or hot temperatures.

Dentifrice
Lay term: Toothpaste
Definition: Paste or powder for teeth containing cleaning and polishing agents.
Usage: Fluoridated dentifrice has been shown to clinically reverse caries.

Dentures
Definition: Partial or full dentures consist of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base.
Usage: Full dentures can be fixed via implants, or completely removable from the mouth to replace an entire arch of teeth.

Distal
Definition: The tooth surface away from the midline, towards the back of the mouth.
Usage: The premolars are distal to the canines.