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Glossary of Dental Terms

A handy reference

Common Dental Terms

We’ve put together this handy reference guide of terms you might hear when speaking with your dentist or support staff.

Please don’t hesitate to ask your dental care provider for clarification. We’re here to help make your experience as pleasant as possible!

Apicoectomy

Surgical removal of the root tip to treat a dead tooth.

Arch

Describes the alignment of the upper or lower teeth.

Abrasion

Loss of tooth structure caused by a hard toothbrush, poor brushing technique or bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth).

Attrition

Loss of structure due to natural wear.

Abscess

An infection of a tooth, soft tissue or bone.

Abutment

A tooth or teeth that supports a fixed or removable bridge.

Adhesive Dentistry

Contemporary term for dental restorations that involve ‘bonding’ of composite resin or porcelain fillings to natural teeth.

Air Abrasion

Removal of tooth structure by blasting a tooth with air and abrasive, a relatively new technology that may avoid the need for anesthetic.

Allergy

Unfavorable systemic response to a foreign substance or drug.

Alveolar Bone

The jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth.

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