Amalgam - traditional “silver fillings”, no longer used in Dr. Stauffer's practice.
Anesthesia - medicine given to teeth to “put them to sleep."
Anterior teeth - Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.
Arch - A single set of teeth, be it “upper” or “lower."
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Bicuspids -Teeth between molars and canines.
Bitewings - X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities between teeth.
Bonding - Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the lip surfaces of teeth.
Bridge - Means of replacing a missing tooth or teeth by a non-removable manner, in which the replacement tooth is attached to teeth on either side of the missing teeth.
Bruxism - Teeth grinding.
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Calculus - Calcified dental plaque. The "hard deposits" removed by hygienists during recall appointments.
Canal - The narrow chamber inside the tooth's root.
Canines - Also called cuspids. Generally the longest rooted teeth in a patient's mouth. The cornerstone of our function and arguably our most important teeth.
Canker sore - One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.
Caries - A commonly used term for tooth decay, or cavities.
Cold sore - Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.
Composite filling - Tooth colored filling material.
Contouring - The process of reshaping teeth, fillings, or other dental restorations.
Crown - Generally the strongest means of repairing a heavily restored or damaged tooth. A restoration that encapsulates a tooth, holding it together, fitting intimately to a patient's tooth and cemented in place. Usually made of a very strong porcelain. Gold may also be used on posterior teeth.
Cusps - The pointed parts on top of the back tooth's chewing surface.
Cuspids - Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge. See canine.
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Dentin - The middle layer of a tooth. The 2nd hardest substance in the human body.
Denture - A removable set of teeth.
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Endodontics - A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth's root or nerve. See root canal.
Enamel - the outer surface of a tooth. The hardest substance in the human body.

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Fluoride - A naturally occuring mineral that makes the enamel of teeth strong. Usually given to recall patients to strengthen teeth and decrease the risk of dental decay.
Fluorosis - A harmless overexposure to fluoride, usually from taking supplements when not needed as permanent teeth are developing in childhood, that may cause discoloration of the adult teeth.
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Gingiva - Another word for gum tissue.
Gingivitis - A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque. Reversible process with attention to home care.
Gum disease - An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease. A non-reversable process requiring special attention from a dental hygienist.
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Impacted teeth - A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts through gum tissues.
Implant - A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth in which a”screw” is placed in the position of a missing tooth's root position and eventually a crown is atached replacing the “tooth” above the gumline. Can also be used to support partial or full dentures.
Incisor - Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.

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Laminate veneer - A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually made out of porcelain or resin. Think “false fingernail” for the lip surfaces of front teeth.
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Malocclusion - Bad bite relationship.
Mandible - The lower jaw.
Maxilla - The upper jaw.
Molar - Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces. Teeth used to “grind” food.
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Orthodontics - A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment,“Braces.”

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Palate - Roof of the mouth.
Partial denture - A removable appliance that replaces missing teeth. May be made entirely of plastic or may have a metal backbone or framework providing additional strength and stability.
Pediatric Dentistry - A field of dentistry that deals with children's teeth.
Perio pocket - Space between the tooth and gum. Depth is measured to determine health status with a depth of 3 millimeters generally considered healthy.
Periodontal disease - Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.

Permanent teeth - The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.
Plaque - A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing. Can be removed by brushing.
Posterior teeth - The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
Primary teeth - A person's first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth.
Prophylaxis - The act of cleaning the teeth by a dental professional.
Prosthodontics - The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances be it removable or fixed.
Pulp - The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue. The part of the tooth that causes pain or can die when a cavity or a fracture exposing this tissue occurs.
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Resin filling - A tooth colored filling. Also called a composite filling.
Root canal - A procedure in which a tooth's injured or dead nerve is removed from the interior of the tooth. The interior is cleansed and filled with special materials. Ususlly the last step in saving a tooth.
Root planing - A “Deep” cleaning of the mouth when gum disease is present.
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TMD - Disorder of the TMJ.
TMJ - The joint on the side of the head that connects the lower jaw with the skull.
Tarter - A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth's surface.
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Veneer - see laminate veneer.
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Whitening - A process that employs special bleaching agents for lightening or whitening the color of the teeth.
Wisdom tooth - Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence, also referred to as 3rd molars.
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