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Glossary of Terms [A-B]

Listed below are terms and definitions to help you better understand dental terminology when visiting Regents Dental Group.

Abrasion
Loss of tooth structure caused by a hard toothbrush, poor brushing technique, or Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth).

Abscess
An infection of a tooth, soft tissue or bone.

Abutment
Tooth or teeth that support a fixed or removable bridge.

Adhesive Dentistry
Contemporary term for dental restorations that involve "bonding" of composite resin or porcelain fillings to natural teeth.

Allergy
Unfavorable systemic response to a foreign substance or drug.

Alveolar Bone
The jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth.

Amalgam
A most common filling material, also known as "silver fillings,"containing mercury (aprox. 50%), silver, tin, copper and zinc used for fillings.

Analgesia
A state of pain relief; an agent lessening pain.

Anesthesia
Partial or complete elimination of pain sensation; numbing a tooth is an example of local anesthesia; general anesthesia produces partial or complete unconsciousness.

Anterior Teeth
The six upper or six lower front teeth.

Antibiotic
A drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria.

ANUG
An acronym for Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth or Vincent's disease, aggravated by stress and/or smoking.

Apex
The tip of the root of a tooth.

Apicoectomy
Surgical removal of the root tip to treat a dead tooth.

Arch
Describes the alignment of the upper or lower teeth.

Attrition
Loss of structure due to natural wear.

Base
Cement placed under a dental restoration to insulate the pulp (nerve chamber).

Bicuspid or Pre-Molar
Transitional teeth behind the cuspids.

Bifurcation (Trifurcation):
Juncture of two (three) roots in posterior teeth.

Biopsy
Removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination.

Bite
Relationship of the upper and lower teeth on closure (occlusion).

Bite Wings
Caries (decay) detection x-rays.

Black Hairy Tongue
Elongated papillae on the tongue, promoting the growth of microorganisms.

Bleaching
Chemical or laser treatment of natural teeth for whitening effect. A procedure for brightening or whitening stained, dull, or discolored teeth. This can be in-office or dentist-supervised at-home.

Block Injection
Anesthesia of a nerve trunk that covers a large area of the jaw; a mandibular block injection produce numbness of the lower jaw, teeth, half the tongue.

Bonding
Adhesive dental restoration technique; a tooth-colored composite resin to repair and/or change the color or shape of a tooth. A procedure to adhere tooth-colored resin to the tooth's surface, creating a bond. The composite resin bonding process is where a resin (similar to an enamel) is bonded to a tooth's surface, but then sculpted into shape, hardened, and polished.

Bone Resorption
Decrease in bone supporting the roots of teeth; a common result of periodontal (gum disease).

Braces
Devices used by orthodontists to gradually reposition teeth to a more favorable alignment.

Bridge
A fixed or removable dental appliance used to replace missing teeth. stationary dental prosthesis (appliance) fixed to teeth adjacent to a space; replaces one or more missing teeth, cemented or bonded to supporting teeth or implants adjacent to the space.

Bruxism
Grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep.

Bruxomania
Persistent "nervous" grinding of the teeth while the patient is awake.

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