Your Dental Vocabulary Cheat Sheet

September 23, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — disting_user @ 5:32 pm

Happy woman in the dental chair.When you visit your dentist, do you know the right questions to ask? Do you understand the terminology they use? Well, here is your very own dental vocabulary cheat sheet, complete with common treatments and terminology your dentist uses. This will help you be more effective and make the most of the time you have to communicate with your dentist.

Periodontal Disease

Also referred to as gum disease, periodontal disease is an infection of the main support system for your teeth, which is your jawbone and gums. Like a foundation for your house, your gums support your teeth, and an infection can eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is very prevalent among American adults, and it happens to be the leading cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of thirty.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease when you might notice your gums bleed when you brush, or appear red and irritated. Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease in which your teeth start to feel mobile, and your gums begin to recede.


An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in providing root canal therapy. Many general dentists also provide this service to their patients. A root canal removes infected tissue from within your tooth that is typically causing a toothache. This treatment not only alleviates the pain caused by your infection, it also preserves your natural tooth.

Dental Crown

A crown is a dental restoration designed to fit over your remaining tooth structure. It helps to restore the form and function of your natural tooth, while also protecting the integrity of your root. It is typically comprised of high quality porcelain that is customized to match your teeth and complement your smile.


Bruxism is a term that refers to clenching and grinding your teeth. This typically happens at night while you sleep. Depending on its severity, bruxism can cause a host of issues such as headaches, jaw pain, fractures, and excessive wear to your teeth. You can protect your teeth from bruxism by wearing a night guard while you sleep.


A dental veneer refers to a thin sheath of porcelain that is designed to fit over the patient’s natural tooth. It’s customized in size, shape, and shade, and it can be used to cover imperfections like:

  • Discoloration
  • Fractures
  • Wear
  • Gaps
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Slight misalignment issues


Composite is a versatile material that your dentist can use to fill cavities or for cosmetic bonding. Composite can be customized to match your tooth, so with bonding it can be used to repair many of the same issues that a veneer does. Composite is durable and can last for 10-15 years with excellent home care.

Hopefully the next time you visit your dentist, you’ll be armed with the terminology to have the right discussions for your own oral health.

About the Author

Dr. Sheri McIntosh has been providing patients in Fort Worth, TX with the Distinguished Patient Experience for years. This is a dental experience that you will find nowhere else that combines both personalized attention with the highest level of customer service.

We’re happy to partner with you in achieving optimum oral health, and we know we’ll exceed your expectations every time you visit Distinguished Dental. If you’d like to reach us call 817-337-8300 or contact us through our website.

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