Terms Glossary ABSCESS: Acute or chronic localized inflammation with a collection of pus, associated with tissue destruction and, frequently, swelling. ABRASION: Tooth wear caused by forces other than chewing, such as improper brushing. ABUTMENT: A tooth or implant used to support an artificial device replacing teeth. ACID ETCHIN: Applying an acid to the tooth-enamel surface to provide retention for bonding. ALLOPLASTIC: Synthetic material used for tissue augmentation. ALVEOLAR: The bone to which a tooth is attached. ALVEOLOPLASTY: The recontouring of bone structures, usually in preparation for a prosthesis. AMALGAM: A mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper used to fill cavities. ANALGESIA: Loss of pain sensations without loss of consciousness. ANESTHESIA: Removal of sensation. General anesthesia: a controlled state of unconsciousness. Local anesthesia: drug-induced elimination of sensation in one part of the body. ANTERIOR: The teeth and tissues located towards the front of the mouth. APEX: The tip or end of the root end of the tooth. APICOECTOMY: Amputation of a tooth apex (root tip). ARCH, DENTAL: Upper or lower jaw. AVULSION: Separation of tooth from its socket due to trauma; scientific term for "having a tooth knocked out." BAND: A metal ring orthodontists cement to BICUSPID: A tooth with two cusps, usually a premolar tooth. BILATERAL: Both sides. BIOPSY: Process of removing tissue for evaluation. BITEWING RADIOGRAPH: A side-view mouth X-ray. BONDING: A composite resin that changes the shape or color of a tooth. BRIDGE: A fixed partial denture replacing one or more missing teeth. Bridges can be fixed or removable. BRUXISM: Grinding and/or clenching of teeth. BUCCAL: Pertaining to or around the cheek. CALCULUS: Hard mineralized plaque attached to crowns and/or roots of teeth. CANAL: The space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue; the passage which transmits vessels and nerves through the jaw. CANTILEVER EXTENSION: Part of a fixed prosthesis supported at one end only. CARIES: Tooth decay. CAVITY: Decay in tooth caused by caries; also referred to as carious lesion. CEMENT BASE: Material used under a filling to replace lost tooth structure. CEMENTUM: Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root. CEPHALOMETRIC RADIOGRAPH: A full-head X-ray. CLEFT PALATE: Congenital deformity resulting in lack of fusion of the soft and/or hard palate. CLENCHING: The clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together, frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort. CLOSED REDUCTION: The repositioning of a fractured bone without surgery. COINSURANCE: The benefits plan pays a predetermined percentage of the approved cost of your treatment, and you are responsible for paying the balance. What you pay is called the coinsurance, and it is part of your out-of-pocket cost. It is paid even after a deductible is reached. COMPOSITE: A dental restorative material. COMPOUND FRACTURE: A broken bone exposed to external contamination. COPAYMENT: The fee a person must pay to receive healthcare services, in addition to what the insurance company covers. COPING: A thin covering of a tooth crown applied as part of a restoration. CORONAL: The crown of a tooth. CROWN: A restoration that covers or "caps" a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Anatomical crowns: The normal enamel covering of a tooth. Abutment crown: An artificial crown that supports a dental prosthesis. Artificial crown: A restoration that covers most or all of a tooth crown. Clinical crown: The part of a tooth not covered by supporting tissues. CURETTAGE: Scraping or cleaning the walls of a cavity or gingival pocket. CUSP: An extruded part of the chewing surface of a tooth. CYST: A cavity containing fluid or soft matter. DEBRIDEMENT: Removal of plaque, calculus and/or tissue. DECAY: Carious lesions in a tooth resulting in decomposition of tooth structure. DECIDUOUS: Used to describe primary (baby) teeth. DEDUCTIBLE: The dollar amount you will have to pay before your benefits plan will contribute to your cost of dental treatment. DENTAL PROPHYLAXIS: Scaling and polishing procedure that removes plaque, calculus, and stains. DENTIN: The part of the tooth beneath enamel and cementum. DENTITION: The teeth in the dental arch. Permanent dentition refers to permanent teeth; deciduous dentition refers to deciduous (baby) teeth. DENTURE: An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues. DENTURE BASE: The part of a denture that contacts soft tissue and holds the artificial teeth. DIAGNOSTIC CAST: Plaster or stone model of teeth and adjoining tissues; also referred to as study model. DIASTEMA: A space, often used to refer to a space between adjacent teeth. DIRECT PULP CAP: Covering exposed tooth pulp with a dressing or cement. DISPLACED TOOTH: Partial loss of a tooth due to trauma. DISTAL: Toward the back of the dental arch. DRY SOCKET: Inflammation of the tooth socket following a tooth extraction. EDENTULOUS : Without teeth. ENAMEL: Hard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of tooth. ENDODONTIST: A dental specialist who treats disease and injuries of the tooth pulp. EQUILIBRATION: Reshaping the biting surfaces of teeth to create proper adjustment and alignment. ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS: Healthcare services that must be covered by a benefits plan. Click here to learn more about the essential health benefits. EVALUATION: Periodic oral evaluation: a regular dental checkup. Limited oral evaluation – problem-focused: an exam limited to a specific oral-health problem. Comprehensive oral evaluation: a thorough evaluation of hard and soft tissues. Detailed and extensive oral evaluation – problem-focused, by report: a detailed and extensive problem-focused evaluation. EVULSION: Complete separation of the tooth from its socket due to trauma (avulsion). A knocked-out tooth. EXCISION: Surgical removal of bone or tissue. EXUDATE: A byproduct of inflammation or necrosis (death of tissue) containing fluid, cells, and/or other debris. FACIAL: The surface of a tooth directed toward the face. FEDERALLY FACILITATED MARKETPLACE (FFM): The Federally Facilitated Marketplace facilitates the purchase of qualified health plans by individuals and small group employers. The platform provides a place to compare price, coverage and quality of available plans. Visit healthcare.gov for more information. FILLING: The restoring of lost tooth structure using materials like metal, alloy, plastic, or cement. FRACTURE: In dentistry, the breaking of a tooth. FRENUM: Muscle fibers covered by a mucous membrane that attach the cheek, lips and/or tongue to associated structures. FURCATION: The area of a multirooted tooth where the roots diverge. GINGIVA: The soft tissues overlying the crowns of unerupted teeth and encircling the necks of erupted teeth. GINGIVECTOMY: The removal of gingiva. GINGIVITIS: Inflammation of the gingival tissues. GINGIVOPLASTY: A process that reshapes gingiva into a normal, functional form. GRAFT: A piece of tissue or alloplastic material put in contact with tissue to repair a defect or supplement a deficiency. HEMISECTION: Surgical separation of a multirooted tooth so that one root and/or the overlaying portion of the crown can be surgically removed. HETEROLOGOUS: Made up of tissue not normal to the part. IMAGING, DIAGNOSTIC: Includes, but is not limited to, CAT scans, MRIs, photographs, and X-rays. IMMEDIATE DENTURE: Prosthesis that is placed immediately after removing natural teeth. IMPACTED TOOTH: An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is blocked from surfacing by another tooth, bone, or soft tissue. IMPLANT: A device placed surgically in bone as support for a prosthesis. IMPLANTATION, TOOTH: Placement of an artificial or natural tooth into a socket. INDIRECT PULP CAP: Procedure in which the nearly exposed pulp is covered with a protective dressing to protect the pulp from additional injury and to promote healing and repair. INLAY: A dental restoration made outside of the mouth and then applied to a tooth. INTENTIONAL REIMPLANTATION: The intentional removal, repair and replacement of a tooth into its socket. INTERPROXIMAL: Between the adjoining surfaces of adjacent teeth. INTRACORONAL: Within the crown of a tooth. INTRAORAL: Inside the mouth. JAW: A common name for either the maxilla or the mandible. LABIAL: Pertaining to or around the lip. LESION: An injury or wound; area of diseased tissue. LINE ANGLE: Used to designate the junction of two tooth surfaces or two walls of a tooth-cavity preparation. LINGUAL: Pertaining to or around the tongue. MAINTENANCE, PERIODONTAL: Therapy for preserving the health of the periodontium. MALAR: Pertaining to the cheek bone. MALIGNANT: Cancerous. MALOCCLUSION: Improper alignment of biting or chewing surfaces. MANDIBLE: Lower jaw. MAXILLA: The upper jaw. MAXIMUMS: The maximum dollar amount a benefits plan will pay toward the cost of dental care within a specific benefit period. The patient is personally responsible for paying costs above the annual maximum. MESIAL: Toward the midline of the dental arch. MOLAR: Teeth back of the premolars (bicuspids) on either side of the jaw; grinding teeth, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces. MOULAGE: A wax or plaster cast-mold reproduction of the face. NON-AUTOGENOUS: A graft from a donor other than the patient. OBTURATOR: A prosthesis that closes an opening OCCLUSAL RADIOGRAPH: An X-ray where the film is held between the teeth. OCCLUSION: Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth. ONLAY: A restoration made outside the mouth that replaces a tooth cusp or cusps. ORAL: Pertaining to the mouth. ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON: A dental specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries, deformities, defects, and aesthetic aspects of the mouth and jaw. ORAL PATHOLOGY: The specialty concerned with recognition, diagnosis, investigation, and management of diseases of the mouth, jaws, and adjacent structures. ORTHODONTIST: A dental specialist who treats the misalignment of the teeth and their surrounding structures. OSTEOPLASTY: Surgical procedure that modifies the bones in the jaws. OSTEOTOMY: Surgical cutting of bone. OVERDENTURE: Prosthetic device supported by retained teeth roots or implants. PALATE: The hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth. PALLIATIVE: Action that relieves pain. PANORAMIC RADIOGRAPH: An X-ray that shows the entire upper and lower mouth and jaw on a single film. PARTIAL DENTURE: A prosthetic device that replaces missing teeth, designed to be removed by the patient. PATIENT: An individual who has established a professional relationship with a dentist for the delivery of dental care. PEDIATRIC DENTIST: A dental specialist who treats children; formerly known as a pedodontist. PERIAPICAL: The area surrounding the end of the tooth root. PERIAPICAL RADIOGRAPH: An X-ray made by placing film inside the mouth. PERICORONAL: Around the crown of a tooth. PERIODONTAL: Pertaining to the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth. PERIODONTAL DISEASE: Inflammation of the gingival tissues and/or periodontal membrane. PERIODONTAL POCKET: A deepened gingival fissure; a feature of periodontal disease. PERIODONTIST: A dental specialist who treats diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth. PERIODONTITIS: Inflammation and loss of the connective tissue of the surrounding structure of teeth. PERIRADICULAR: Surrounding a portion of the root of the tooth. PLAQUE: A soft sticky substance, composed largely of bacteria, that accumulates on teeth. PONTIC: The artificial tooth on a fixed partial denture (bridge). POST: A metallic projection cemented within a prepared root canal to strengthen and retain restorative material. POSTERIOR: Teeth and tissues towards the back of the mouth – i.e., premolars and molars. PREMEDICATION: The use of medications prior to dental procedures. PRIMARY DENTITION: The first set of teeth. PROPHYLAXIS: A scaling and polishing procedure that removes plaque, calculus and stains. PROSTHESIS: Artificial replacement of any part of the body. Dental prosthesis: any device or appliance replacing one or more missing teeth and/or associated structures. Types of prostheses include: definitive prosthesis – a prosthesis to be used over an extended period of time; fixed prosthesis – non-removable tooth-borne dental prosthesis; interim prosthesis – a provisional prosthesis designed for use over a limited period of time; removable prosthesis – dental prosthesis designed to be removed and reinserted by the patient. PROSTHODONTIST: A dental specialist who restores natural teeth and replaces missing teeth with artificial substitutes. PROVISIONAL: A temporary prosthesis or individual tooth restoration. PULP: The connective tissue containing blood vessels and nerves that occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth. PULP CAVITY: The space within a tooth containing the pulp. PULPECTOMY: Complete removal of pulp tissue from the root-canal space. PULPITIS: Inflammation of the pulp. PULPOTOMY: Surgical removal of a portion of the pulp with the aim of saving the remaining pulp. QUADRANT: One of four equal sections into which the dental arches are divided. RADICULAR: Pertaining to the root. RADIOGRAPH: X-ray. REBASE: Refitting a denture by replacing the base material. REIMPLANTATION, TOOTH: The return of a tooth to its socket. RELINE: The process of resurfacing the tissue side of a denture with new material. RETAINER: A device used to stabilize teeth. ROOT: The portion of the tooth that is covered by cementum and located in the alveolus (socket). ROOT CANAL: The chamber within the root of the tooth that contains the pulp. ROOT-CANAL THERAPY: The treatment of disease and injuries of the pulp and associated conditions. ROOT PLANING: A procedure designed to remove microbial flora, bacterial toxins, calculus, and diseased cementum or dentin on the root surfaces and in the pocket. SCALING: Removal of plaque, calculus, and stains from teeth. SIALODOCHOPLASTY: Surgical procedure to repair and/or restore a portion of a salivary-gland duct. SIALOGRAPHY: X-rays of the salivary ducts and glands. SIALOLITHOTOMY: Surgical procedure to remove a stone within a salivary gland or its duct. SPLINT: A device used to support, protect, or immobilize oral structures that have been loosened, replanted, fractured, or traumatized. STOMATITIS: Inflammation of the mouth membranes. STRESS BREAKER: Part of a tooth-borne and/or tissue-borne prosthesis designed to relieve the abutment teeth and their supporting tissues from stress. STUDY MODEL: Plaster or stone model of teeth and adjoining tissues; also referred to as diagnostic cast. SUTURE: A stitch used to repair an incision or wound. TEMPORARY REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURE: An interim prosthesis. TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ): The hinge between the mandible (lower jaw) and base of the skull (temporal bone). TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION: Abnormal functioning of the TMJ. TISSUE CONDITIONING: Material placed in contact with tissues for a limited time to help the tissues heal. TRANSPLANTATION, TOOTH: Transfer of a tooth from one socket to another, either in the same or a different person. TRISMUS: Restricted ability to open the mouth, usually due to inflammation. UNERUPTED: Tooth/teeth that have not penetrated into the oral cavity. UNILATERAL: One-sided. VENEER: A layer of tooth-colored material attached to the tooth surface. Veneers may be made of porcelain, ceramic, composite, or acrylic resin. WAITING PERIOD: The period of time after the effective date of your coverage that you must wait before a benefits plan will cover certain services. X-RAY: Radiograph. XEROSTOMIA: Decreased salivary secretion that produces a dry and sometimes burning sensation and/or tooth decay. ZYGOMATIC BONE: A cheekbone.