May 23, 2018
We’ve all been to the dentist, and while there, we’ve certainly heard or read terms that we really didn’t understand. Today, that is going to change, because your Dunwoody dentist is going to define 10 lesser known dental terms so you can stay well-informed about your oral health!
These are the teeth that are located right in front of your molars, sometimes called the premolars. Dentists call them bicuspids because they have two cusps, or elevated chewing surfaces.
Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to do advanced math during your dental appointments! Calculus refers to a hardened plaque that develops on the teeth and dental restorations. It can cause cavities if left in place, and the only way to remove it is with a professional cleaning.
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they basically refer to the same thing: a lesion in the enamel caused by tooth decay.
A crown is a tooth-shaped dental restoration that is designed to fit snugly over the top of a damaged tooth. With one, your dentist in Dunwoody can fix a large cavity, repair a broken tooth, and even cosmetically enhance a stained or misshapen tooth.
This is the college degree that a dentist must have in order to practice dentistry. It stands for “Doctor of Dental Medicine.” The other common degree, DDS, stands for “Doctor of Dental Surgery.” There is no difference between them other than the name.
You probably have heard this term before, but it actually refers to inflammation of the gingival tissue, otherwise known as the gums, due to a minor infection.
The occlusion is how the teeth come together to form the bite, so a malocclusion refers to a misalignment of how the upper and lower teeth fit with one another. Overbites, under bites, and cross bites are all common types of malocclusions.
This is a bacterial infection that affects the gums, roots of the teeth, as well as the bone that supports them. It’s usually brought on by a lack of consistent oral hygiene, and it can cause red, swollen, and bleeding gums before ultimately resulting in tooth loss. Regular dental appointments are a big part of preventing it from developing!
This is the name for the nerve tissue and blood vessels that are located inside every tooth. Should it become infected or damaged, the tooth would need to be treated by a root canal.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
This refers to the small hinges on your lower jaw that allow it to move fluidly whenever you eat, speak, laugh, or yawn. The TMJ can sometimes develop issues due to strain, stress, injury, a misaligned bite, or unconscious teeth grinding. Fortunately, they can be addressed by your dentist.
Hopefully, this mini-glossary will make your next dental appointment a little more understandable! Of course, your local dentist is also a great resource if you encounter any more foreign terms. Just give them a call, and they’ll be happy to be your personal dental dictionary!
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Rodgers is a family, restorative, cosmetic, and sleep dentist based in Dunwoody, GA. In addition to providing a comprehensive array of services at his practice, he also believes that patient education is extremely important, because an informed patient is a healthy one! If you ever have any questions about your oral health, he invites you to contact him through his website.
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