Definition: The four areas created when one imaginary line (“midline”) is drawn between the two central incisors of both arches and separates the left and right sides of each arch and a second line is drawn from cheek to cheek.
Usage: Periodontal scaling is usually performed one quadrant at a time.

Alternate term: X-ray
Definition: Image produced on a radiosensitive surface that displays teeth and surrounding tissues. A full mouth series can include 14 periapicals and four bitewings.
Usage: Dental radiographs are taken routinely every two to three years to detect cavities, monitor bone and nerve health, and assess existing dental work.

Definition: The deposition of minerals into previously damaged areas of the tooth. This is a dynamic process that results in reduced enamel solubility.
Usage: Remineralization reverses the caries process.

Definition: A general term applied to any filling, inlay, onlay, crown, bridge, partial denture, or complete denture that replaces loss of tooth structures, teeth, or oral tissues.
Usage: Direct restorations refer to a filling placed into a prepared cavity, and indirect restorations are custom-made fillings created in a dental laboratory according to a prescription.

Definition: Lower two-thirds of the tooth below the crown covered by cementum.
Usage: Maxillary molars have three roots, while mandibular molars have two roots.

Root Canal
Definition: Pulp-filled channel in a tooth’s root.
Usage: A “root canal” is a common reference to a procedure performed by Endodontists to treat diseased pulp in the root canal.

Root Planing
Definition: Periodontal procedure that smoothes out irregularities on the cementum that attract plaque and removes any remaining calculus left after scaling.
Usage: Root planing is a nonsurgical procedure used in conjunction with scaling to remove calculus below the gum line.

Lay term: Spit
Definition: Watery mixture of secretions from the salivary and oral mucous glands that lubricates chewed food, moistens the oral walls, assists with digestion of carbohydrates, neutralizes acids, and assists with remineralization of teeth.
Usage: Chemicals in tobacco smoke turn healthy saliva into a damaging agent that can accelerate mouth cancer.

Definition: Periodontal procedure that removes calculus and plaque attached to the tooth below the gingival margin on the root surface.
Usage: Scaling is a nonsurgical procedure used in conjunction with root planing to treat periodontal disease.

Stannous Fluoride
Alternate term: SnF2
Definition: Agent of choice for patients when both caries control and plaque reduction are primary objectives, including some orthodontic and periodontal patients.
Usage: Stannous fluoride is clinically proven to reduce caries with a recommended brush on or custom tray application following regular dentifrice at bedtime.

Definition: Below the gingival margin.
Usage: Not all subgingival bacteria are pathogenic.

Subgingival Plaque
Definition: Plaque below the gum line.
Usage: Subgingival plaque removal is essential for controlling inflammatory periodontal disease.

Definition: Above the gingival margin.
Usage: Supragingival calculus is prevalent in people of all ages, from adolescence to old age, but is more severe in smokers.

Supragingival Plaque
Definition: Plaque above the gum line.
Usage: In studies of supragingival plaque removal, the manual toothbrush is considered the gold standard against which new technologies are compared.

Third Molars
Lay term: Wisdom teeth
Definition: The third molars are located at the very back of the mouth, one in each quadrant.
Usage: The mandibular third molars exhibit the highest rate of impaction.

Definition: Considered a cosmetic or esthetic restoration whereby porcelain “facings” are cemented to the labial portion of the tooth, usually to improve esthetics.
Usage: Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin, tooth-colored coverings that are placed on the front side of teeth.

Definition: Dry mouth caused by certain drugs, head and neck radiation, and some systemic diseases.
Usage: Because patients with xerostomia have reduced levels of protective saliva, dry mouth can lead to an increase in dental caries.