Dental Terms Glossary
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 of any terms. We’re here to help make your experience as pleasant as possible!
Tartar: A common term for dental calculus, a hard deposit that adheres to teeth and produces a rough surface that attracts plaque.
Third-Party Provider: An insurance company, union or government agency that pays all or a part of cost of dental treatment.
TMD (or TMJ Disorder): Temperomandibular disorder, the term given to the condition characterized by facial pain and restricted ability to open or move the jaw.
TMJ: The temporomandibular joint where the lower jaw attaches to the skull.
Tooth Bud: The early embryonic structure that becomes a tooth.
Tooth Whitening: A chemical or laser process to lighten the color of teeth.
Topical Anesthetic: An ointment that produces mild anesthesia when applied to the tissue surface.
Torus: Common bony protuberance on the palate or lower jaw.
Transplant: The process of placing a natural tooth in the empty socket of another tooth.
Trauma: Injury caused by external forces, chemical or temperature extremes, or poor tooth alignment.
Trench Mouth: Gum disease characterized by severe mouth sores and loss of tissue. See ANUG.