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Home Glossary

Glossary of dental terms used on this site

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Term Definition
Apex

Pertaining to the tip/end of the tooth root.

Apicectomy

A minor surgical procedure to remove the tip/end of the tooth root to eliminate the source of infection.

Arch

Pertaining to the curved nature of the upper and lower jaws. The two arches in the oral cavity are the maxilla and mandible.

Articulator

A mechanical device that holds models of a patients teeth in the same position as they lie in the mouth so that a dentist can study the bite relationship and jaw movements.

Asepsis

The state of being germ free.

Aspirator

A suction appliance that the dentist places in a patient's mouth to remove saliva, water and dental debris during dental procedures.

Attrition

The wearing away of tooth substance due to activities such as chewing and grinding.

Autoclave

A device used to sterilise instruments or materials.

Baby Teeth

A child's first set of teeth that are progressively replaced by permanent teeth. Also known as primary, deciduous or milk teeth. Usually twenty in number.

Bicuspid

The teeth which lie between the canines and molars having two cusps, they usually number eight in total, two in each quadrant.

Biomechanics

Pertaining to the relationship between the forces applied during movement of living tissue, teeth and their related structures.

Bite

How the upper and lower teeth come together when the mouth is closed. Also known as occlusion.

Bitewing X-rays

X-ray view showing the coronal (above gum line) portion of the upper and lower teeth on the same film.

Bleaching

Pertaining to the whitening of teeth with chemical agents.

Bonding

Pertaining to the adhesion of materials to teeth for such procedures used to repair and/or change the colour or shape of a tooth. The process of attaching brackets (part of braces) to teeth using a dental adhesive for orthodontic treatment.

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