Glossary

Common Hixson and Chattanooga Dentistry Terms 

Sometimes dentists and those in the dental field use certain words in their vernacular that go completely by us. And it’s not that these dentists are trying to speak in confusing jargon to us, it’s just that this is what the proper terminology for these words are, and the many years of dental school have engrained them into their heads. That’s why Dr. Randall and the team here at Tennessee River Dental want to help explain some of these terms in a way that might be easier to understand. That way, the next time you hear these terms used, you’ll know exactly what the person is talking about. Continue reading below to learn more about these dental terms used in our Hixson & Chattanooga dental office.

Anesthetic – A numbing medication that the doctor uses during Hixson and Chattanooga dentistry procedures.

Bridge – Artificial teeth that bridge a gap between two permanent teeth. 

Crown – A metal or porcelain cover that sits over a damaged tooth.

Cavity – When decay causes a hole in the tooth.

Extraction – When a tooth or teeth are removed. 

Enamel – The visible, hard portion of the tooth that sits above the gums. 

Fluoride – A supplement that prevents decay and helps to keep the teeth hard.

Filling – A composite or metal material that fills in the hole of a cavity. 

Gums – The flesh that sits on the jawbone and wraps around the teeth’s roots. 

Primary Teeth – The baby teeth.

Plaque – Bacterial buildup that often includes acids and sits on the teeth to cause decay.

Root – The part of the tooth that sits inside the jaw and underneath the gums.

Secondary Teeth – Also referred to as permanent teeth.

Less Common Terms You Might Hear

Aspirator – A device that suctions saliva out of your mouth.

Apex – The tooth’s root tip.

Anterior – Your front teeth.

Amalgam – Fillings made from mercury and silver.

Abscess – The infection resulting from gum disease, oral trauma or tooth decay. 

Bruxism – When you grind or clench your teeth.

Bonding – A solution for damage and staining in which the teeth are painted with a plastic composite.

Cuspid – The pointy canine teeth, which sit next to the laterals.

Central – Your two front and center teeth on both the lower and upper jaw. 

Caries – A decayed tooth or a cavity.

Canine – The cuspids, or teeth that sit next to the laterals.

Calculus – Tartar, or plaque, caused by genes or neglect.

Dentures – Artificial teeth that can be removed from the mouth.

Dental Implants – An artificial tooth that is used to replace a missing tooth and is implanted into the jaw.

Decalcification – When the teeth lose calcium.

Endodontist – A specialist who deals with treating infectious inner tooth diseases and also specializes in root canals. 

Gingivitis – A disease in which the gums become inflamed.

Inlays – A filling that is custom-made for a specific cavity.

Incisor – The flat, anterior sharp teeth used when biting into something.

Impacted Tooth – A tooth that requires extraction because of the way it is growing in beneath the gums, which prevents it from breaking the gums. This is often the situation with wisdom teeth.

Lateral – Neighboring teeth to the centrals.

Night Guard – Used as a treatment for TMJ and night grinding, this is a plastic guard that fits in the mouth around the teeth, providing protection.

Prosthodontist – A specialist who deals with replacing and restoring teeth that are extremely damaged or even missing.

Posterior Teeth – The teeth furthest to the back. 

Periodontist – A specialist who deals with gum disease and the treatment of it. 

Pedodontist – A specialist dealing with children’s teeth; also referred to as a pediatric specialist.

Root Canal – A procedure to clean damaged nerves and decay out of the inside of the tooth’s root; the root is then filled in.

Sleep Apnea – A sleeping disorder that often carries on through the entire night, in which the individual will stop breathing for a certain amount of time.

Sealant – Often applied on children’s teeth, this is a plastic coating that dentists apply to seal off the area to aid in decay prevention.

Tooth Whitening – A procedure that makes the teeth brighter and whiter.

TMJ Syndrome – A joint problem in the jaw that can be the result of upper and lower jaw misalignment.

Veneer – A cosmetic product that is placed on the tooth to fix damage or cover up stains and often made of composite materials or porcelain.

Contact Us If You Have Any Questions

Hopefully this helped clear up any questions you might have had regarding the dental terms we use here around our Hixson office. In the event there are still a few terms, acronyms, etc. that you would like a little bit of clarity on, please reach out and contact us. We’d happily answer any and all dentistry related questions you might have. We hope to hear from you soon!