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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!

Analgesia

A state of pain relief or an agent that lessens pain.

Attrition

Loss of structure due to natural wear.

Arch

Describes the alignment of the upper or lower teeth.

Apicoectomy

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

Apex

The tip of the root of a tooth.

ANUG

An acronym for Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth or Vincent’s disease, which can be aggravated by stress and/or smoking.

Antibiotic

A drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria.

Anterior Teeth

The six upper or six lower front teeth.

Anesthesia

Partial or complete elimination of pain sensation. Numbing a tooth is an example of local anesthesia; general anesthesia produces partial or complete unconsciousness.

Abrasion

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

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