Attrition: Wearing down of the biting surfaces of the teeth due to bruxism or other habits.
Abscess: An infection of the tooth that surrounds the gum and/or bone.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Decay in a child’s mouth due to juice or milk served in a bottle at
bedtime. A harmful acid that erodes baby teeth is created when the
sugars in the liquids interact with mouth bacteria.
Bruxism: A condition that involves the grinding of teeth and clenching of
jaws. It often occurs during sleep or in stressful situations.
Caries: Tooth decay. Also known as cavities.
Candidiasis: A fungal infection of the mouth that often develops in very young children or elderly persons. Also known as thrush.
Canker Sores: Small ulcers within the mouth.
Cleaning: See prophylaxis.
Cleft Palate: Developmental birth defect that hinders the growth and development of the roof of the mouth.
Cold Sores: Blister-like sores on the outside of the mouth. (learn more)
Congenitally Missing Tooth: Tooth bud is not present, therefore the tooth does not form.
Cuspids: Two pointed corner teeth (top and bottom) located behind the incisors used for biting.
Gingivitis: An early stage of periodontal disease where gum tissue becomes inflamed due to plaque buildup. (learn more)
Halitosis: Bad breath caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth.
Impacted Tooth: A tooth that does not completely erupt through the gums. It may show slightly above the surface of the gums or not at all.
Incisors: Front four teeth (top and bottom) used for cutting and gnawing.
Leukoplakia: White-colored formation on the cheeks, gums or tongue caused by
excess cell growth in the mouth. Common in those who use tobacco, have
ill-fitting dentures or chew their cheeks.
Mandible: Lower jaw that holds teeth.
Maxilla: Upper jaw that holds teeth.
Meth Mouth: Extensive tooth decay caused by the use of methamphetamine drugs.
Molars: Large back two teeth (left and right, top and bottom) used for chewing.
Oral Cancer: Cancer of the oral cavity including the lips, gums, cheek lining, tongue and palate.
Periodontal Disease: Disease of the gums or the bone structure of the mouth.
Periodontitis: Advanced stage of periodontal disease when bone loss can occur.
Plaque: A bacterial substance that accumulates on teeth to cause decay.
Pre-molars: Middle two teeth (left and right, top and bottom) located behind the incisors but in front of the molars.
Preventive Dentistry: Type of dentistry dedicated to educating patients on the importance
of good oral health. This includes the prevention of advanced oral
Prophylaxis: A dental procedure that removes hard deposits, plaque and stains from the teeth. Also known as a cleaning.
Teeth Grinding: See bruxism.
Temporomandibular Disorders: Pain in the temporomandibular joints, which are the joints and
ligaments that connect the mandible to the skull on either side of the
mouth. Also known as TMJ or TMD.
Thumbsucking: Natural children’s habit that may cause improper dental development.
Tooth Bud: A term used to describe the development of a tooth. As the teeth are
forming in the jaws, the area of formation is called a bud.
Wisdom Teeth: Teeth at the very back of the mouth (left and right, top and bottom).
Wisdom teeth can be valuable to the mouth if properly positioned. If impacted or poorly aligned, wisdom teeth must be removed.