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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!

Partial Denture

A removable dental prosthesis (appliance) that replaces one or more natural teeth.


The study of disease.

Pedodontics or Pediatric Dentistry

As the name implies, pediatric dentistry is the field of medicine that deals with dentists for children. A children’s dentist specializes in the care of a child’s small mouth and teeth, normally including braces, invisible braces, crowns, fillings, cleanings, plates, x-rays, and similar tools in everyday work. Caring for the growing mouth of a child is hard work, and requires more education for the specialty of pediatric dentistry.A pediatric dentist can give parents and caregivers special information regarding habits that can cause trouble later, such as thumb sucking, cavity-causing eating habits, and much more. They also understand the process of teeth growing, falling out, and allowing adult teeth to grow. Sometimes, teeth must be pulled for a variety of reasons, even for small children.Dentists for children are not solely concerned with tooth maintenance. They are also a vital part of a healthy smile as an adult, and can help a child grow up with an improved self-image. Learning about things that make a child healthy and happy is an important part of being a good parent, and finding a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry can do just that. Our pediatric dental specialists are trained to deal with the unique needs of children. This includes calming their fears, specialized equipment and educating them about good oral health.

Periapical (PA)

The region at the end of the roots of teeth.

Periodontal Chart

A record measuring the depth of gum pockets around the teeth.

Periodontal Surgery

The recontouring or aesthetic management of diseased gum and supporting tissue.


A dental specialist who treats the gums and supporting soft and hard tissues in order to retain natural teeth and prepare for surgical placement of dental implants. Heredity, diet and other factors can result in gum disease. We will help you get a treatment plan that aggressively attacks any form of periodontal disease that will soon have your mouth back in top health.

Permanent Teeth

Thirty-two adult teeth (approximately) in a complete dentition.


A small defect in the tooth enamel, or the junction of four formative lobes of a developing tooth.


A soft, sticky substance that accumulates on teeth and is composed of bacteria and food debris due to inadequate dental hygiene.


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