Tooth terms

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April 5th, 2017

Dental professionals have a vocabulary all their own! Each week we pick out some our favorite tooth terms to explain on Twitter. Have you been following along? Check out some of the tooth terms below:

Tooth crown icon

Crown: A dental crown is a full coverage dental restoration which completely “caps” or encircles a tooth, covering most of its exposed surface. Some crowns are prepared and placed same-day, while others need to be made in a lab and placed in the patient’s mouth several days or weeks later.

Calculus graphic

Calculus: Calculus – also known as tartar – is hardened, calcified plaque. Calculus cannot be removed by brushing and flossing; it needs to be removed with a dental instrument by a dental hygienist or dentist. Calculus is composed of millions of bacterial cells calcified together with calcium phosphate, found in the saliva.

Tooth with plaque icon

Plaque: Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing.

Gingivitis icon

Gingivitis: Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva, or gum tissue. Gingivitis often presents as red and puffy gums which bleed easily. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease, which is more serious and can lead to loss of teeth.

Occlusion icon

Occlusion: Dental occlusion refers to the relationship between the upper (maxillary) jaw and the lower (mandibular) jaw. In other words, it’s how the two arches of teeth come together during biting or chewing.