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FirstBite Glossary of Terms

A

Appliance

Any removable dental restoration or orthodontic device.

C

Calculus

Tartar; plaque which has become calcified or hardened.

Cavity

The space inside a tooth that remains once decay is removed.

Cheek pouch

The area of the mouth inside the cheek.

Crown

Portion of tooth covered by enamel; also refers to a dental restoration shaped like the tooth it covers.

D

Deciduous teeth

Baby teeth; the childhood set of 20 teeth.

Dental caries

Decay of teeth; commonly known as 'cavities'.

Dentine

The core of the tooth, covered by enamel.

Dentine hypersensitivity

The painful sensation resulting from exposed dentine in your mouth.

Dietary sugar

Sugar occurring in your diet, including sugar found in sweets, fruits and processed foods.

E

Enamel

Extremely hard, protective coating of tooth.

Eruption

When teeth first peek through gums.

Explorer

A probe used to detect cavity growth.

F

Fissures

Cleft-like grooves in the chewing surfaces of back teeth.

Fissure sealing

A procedure that protects fissures against decay, using a sealant.

Fluoride

A chemical compound that helps strengthen teeth as well as reduce tooth decay and sensitivity.

G

Gingiva

The gums; tissue that supports teeth and covers jawbone.

Gingival

Of or pertaining to the gums.

Gingival pocket

See gingival sulcus.

Gingival sulcus

Gum pocket; space between tooth (including root) and gum tissue.

Gingivitis

A reversible gum disease which causes gum tenderness, inflammation and pain.

Gum disease

See periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Gum pocket

See gingival sulcus.

I

Implant

A fixture implanted within the jawbone to attach a permanent restoration such as a crown, bridge or denture.

Irrigator

An appliance for cleaning above and/or below the gum line, and for distributing therapeutic solutions.

Interdental

Between teeth.

M

Malocclusion

Misalignment of upper and lower teeth.

Molars

Large, broad multi-cusped teeth at the back of the mouth.

Mouthguard

A soft fitted device that protects teeth against impact or injury.

O

Orthodontics

An area of dentistry concerned with the correction of malocclusion and the restoration of teeth to proper functioning.

Orthodontist

A dental professional who specialises in and corrects irregularities of the teeth.

P

Periodontal

Of or pertaining to the tissue and bone that support teeth.

Periodontal disease

See periodontitis.

Periodontal probe

An instrument used to measure pocket depth.

Periodontist

A dental professional who specialises in the treatment of disease of the supporting structures of the teeth.

Periodontitis

A gum disease that causes inflammation of gums, ligaments and bone structure or bone loss that support teeth; can lead to tooth.

Plaque

A sticky, bacteria-containing film which forms on tooth surfaces.

Premolars

Two-cusped teeth immediately in front of molars.

Proximal surfaces

Areas of tooth adjacent to other teeth.

Pulp

Soft, sensitive tissue chamber below the crown, which contains nerves and blood vessels.

R

Restoration

Any replacement for lost tooth structure or teeth; for example, bridges, fillings, crowns and implants.

S

Sensitivity

See dentine hypersensitivity.

Subgingival

Below the gum line.

Supragingival

Above the gum line.

Systemic

Affecting the body as a whole.

T

Teething

Baby teeth pushing through gums.

TMJ

The 'temporomandibular joint' (TMJ) or commonly known as the ''jaw joint'', is where the lower jaw connects to the base of the skull.

TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)

A problem with the temporomandibular joint.

Topical gel

Applied to teeth, gums or oral tissue.