Are you a word nerd? If not, you probably don’t know all the dental terms that relate to your oral health. Even if you love words, though, you still might be a little foggy on the meanings of certain words and phrases as they relate to oral health. Don’t worry — your friendly dentist is here to guide you through the ABCs of caring for that stunning smile of yours!
Parts of the Mouth
Oral anatomy 101, here we come:
- Periodontal tissue — Your gums, the pink tissue that holds your teeth in place.
- Palate — The roof of your mouth.
- Enamel — The outermost layer of your teeth. It is the hardest substance in your body.
- Dentin — The middle layer of your teeth. It’s usually yellowish in color. It’s what you see when your enamel wears thin and your teeth don’t look like themselves.
- Pulp — The innermost layer of the teeth.
- Crown — The entire part of the tooth that is above the gum line. This word can also refer to a custom cover that your dentist places over a tooth in order to protect it against damage.
- Root — The part of the tooth below the gum line. It does not have a layer of enamel.
Need to get some work done? Here are some common procedures:
- Dental implants — A secure way to replace teeth. Unlike dentures, they stay permanently in your mouth and can last a lifetime. They use titanium posts that imitate tooth roots along with a porcelain crown that looks like a natural tooth.
- Porcelain veneers — Little pieces of porcelain that cover teeth. They disguise flaws and make your smile absolutely gorgeous!
- Invisalign — A type of clear braces that uses thermoplastic aligners to move teeth into their proper places.
- Zoom! whitening — A professional treatment that can dramatically whiten teeth in just an hour or so.
- Onlays and inlays — Alternatives to traditional metal fillings that can give teeth back their strength and beauty.
- Root canal therapy — A treatment that cleans out an infected or damaged area of a tooth. It can save a tooth from extraction and end the pain you may be experiencing.
Oral Health Conditions
Is your smile a little under the weather? You might be suffering from:
- Periodontal disease — Gum disease. The beginning stage is known as gingivitis, and the advanced form is called periodontitis.
- Abscessed tooth — A tooth has an infection that has spread around the tooth’s root.
- Dead tooth — A condition in which the blood vessels and nerves in the tooth’s root no longer have any blood flowing to them.
- Avulsed tooth — When one tooth gets completely knocked out.
- Halitosis — Bad breath, sometimes caused by poor oral hygiene.
If you’re still a little confused about dental terms, don’t worry. Feel free to talk to your dentist before any procedure so you can be a well-informed patient.
About the Dentist
Dr. Les Latner is your friendly, football-loving dentist in Los Angeles. He wants everyone to feel comfortable in his office, so please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you have about dental terms or treatments. You can contact us at 310-477-1081.