Call Now to Schedule an Appointment! (Nosotros hablamos español)
(208) 522-1164

Serving Idaho Falls


Dental Terms Glossary at Premier Dental Care in Idaho Falls IDAre you confused about something that you’ve heard or read regarding dental health? Are you looking for more information on a specific term or topic? Use our glossary of dental terms to quickly navigate to the term or topic you’d like defined. If you’re still confused or feel like you don’t understand, it’s always a good idea to discuss any questions you might have with your dentist or oral hygienist. We’re always happy to talk with you about your dental health, to answer your questions, and to make sure you’re informed and comfortable.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Abrasion

Damage to the teeth caused by impact. Can be from accidents, jaw grinding or incorrect cleaning procedures.

Abscess

A local area of swollen tissue with a build-up of pus. Often presents on the gums as a symptom of tooth infection.

Acute

A painful illness which develops quickly and requires immediate treatment.

Acute

A painful illness which develops quickly and requires immediate treatment.

Aesthetic

Pertaining to beauty and appearance. In dentistry the aesthetic area is the area visible when a person smiles.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis

Pre-medicating before treatment to prevent infection during the surgery.

Antibiotics

Medications which fight infection by killing bacteria.

Arch

Attrition

The cumulative loss of tooth structure through natural wear.

B

Bleaching

The use of chemicals to lighten and remove stains from the teeth.

Bone Augmentation

Supporting implanted teeth by building up existing bone around the roots.

Braces

Orthodontic devices worn to straighten teeth and correct tooth position.

Bridge

C

Caries

Common name for tooth decay.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Services to improve smile aesthetics rather than dental health. See more information on cosmetic dentistry.

Crown

An artificial tooth which fits over the top of a natural tooth or implanted root. See more information on dental crowns.

D

Decay

The deterioration of tooth structure over time.

Deciduous Teeth

A child’s first teeth. Also known as primary or baby teeth.

Dental Erosion

The wearing away of dental enamel over time.

Dental Bridge

A device to fill the space left by missing teeth and prevent tooth movement. Can either be removable or fixed. See more information on dental bridges.

Dental Arch

The curved shape of the inside of the mouth.

Dentures

A set of artificial teeth which are removable as opposed to implanted.

E

Enamel

The natural hard coating which protects teeth.

Erosion

Extract

The removal of a natural tooth.

F

Floss

Treated nylon string used to remove food residue and clean between teeth.

Fluoride

A mineral reputed to help prevent tooth decay. It is often added to toothpastes and, sometimes, to public water supplies.

Fluoride Varnish

A fluoride-based liquid which hardens when painted on to teeth and imitates natural enamel.

G

Gingivitis

Temporary inflammation of gum tissue, often caused by poor dental hygiene or infection.

Gingival

Pertaining to the gums.

Gum Disease

Ongoing gum infections causing pain, swelling and bleeding to the gums. If left untreated it can cause permanent damage to gums, teeth and connective tissue. Medically known as Periodontal Disease.

H

Halitosis

Unpleasant breath odor caused by dental infections.

Hygiene

Hygienist

I

Intraoral

Pertaining to the inside of the mouth.

Implant

An artificial tooth root which is surgically implanted in the jaw bone. See more information on dental implants.

J

Jaw

The common and accepted word for both the maxilla and the mandible bones.

M

Molars

The large, strong teeth used to chew food.

Malocclusion

A diagnosis given when teeth do not line up on the jawbone. There may be gaps, over or under-bite or crookedness. This is often treated by an orthodontist.

N

NSAIDs

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs; a group of medications which relieve mild pain. Generally sold over the counter without requiring a prescription.

Night Guard

Worn to prevent dental damage from grinding or gnashing one’s teeth during sleep.

Nerves

The tissue which conveys sensations, particularly pain, to the brain.

O

Opioids

Medicines used to relieve strong pain. Only administered by prescription and usually only under close supervision because of their possible side effects and addictive properties.

Oral

Anything pertaining to the mouth and teeth.

Oral Hygiene

The practice of keeping the mouth clean and free of infection. It can include brushing, the use mouthwash or dental floss, and having the teeth and mouth cleaned by a dental hygienist.

Oral Hygienist

A dental professional who specializes in keeping the mouth hygienic and preventing infection. Also educates clients on how to maintain oral hygiene between dentist visits.

Orthodontic Treatment

Treatment to correct malocclusion and to straighten and realign teeth. Braces are a common orthodontic treatment applied in the teenage years.

P

Peri-Implantitis

An infection which develops around the site of an implant. Commonly known as bone loss.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis

A severe form of gum disease which can lead to tooth loss.

Plaque

A layer of bacteria which forms constantly on the teeth and should be removed by regular brushing.

Prophylaxis

A professional dental cleaning service to remove plaque build-up or stains from tooth structures.

Pulp

The nerves and blood supply to teeth.

R

Radiograph

See X-Ray.

Recession

Plaque build-up causing the gums to pull away from the teeth.

Root Canal Treatment

Used to treat serious tooth infection, decay and irreparable damage. The procedure involves removing the blood supply and nerves of the tooth. The damaged tooth is then filled, reshaped or covered with a crown. See more information on root canal treatment.

S

Stomatitis

A slight irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks and the floor or roof of the mouth.

Staining

Discoloration to the surface of the teeth. Is often accelerated of excessive tobacco smoking or tea and coffee intake; but it is a natural part of the aging process.

Sealant

A protective coating made of thin plastic applied to molars. These help to protect teeth from cavities by preventing residual food from being packed into the tooth surface.

T

Topical

Medications or anesthetics applied to the skin or gums, rather than being inserted into the blood stream.

Therapeutic

Pertaining to beneficial treatments and therapies.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Painful conditions of the jaw bone. (Abbreviated as TMD)

Tartar

A hard, calcium-like build-up on the teeth, caused by inadequate oral hygiene and poor plaque control.

U

Unerupted Tooth

A tooth which is still below the gums and has not yet pushed through. The process of “teething” can be very painful for babies as their deciduous teeth come through.

V

Veneer

Artificial coverings for the front of the teeth. Used to hide staining and improve aesthetic. See more information on veneers.

W

Wisdom Teeth

The third and final molars to come through, usually in early adulthood. They often cause severe pain and need to be surgically removed.

X

Xerostomia

A condition where saliva production is inhibited, often causing a dry mouth or a burning sensation.

X-Ray

A photograph of the inside of the bones and teeth. Used to diagnose cavities and fractures.

Z

Zinc

A key nutrient for fighting infection throughout the body.

Additional Resources

If you’d like to learn more about dentistry and dental terms, the websites below can provide further information and additional insight into how your mouth works and some of the dental treatments that are commonly used.

Dental Terms Glossary in Idaho Falls ID

Serving clients in the greater Idaho Falls area:

Blackfoot | Shelley | Ammon | Rexburg | Rigby | Thornton | Lorenzo | Garfield