We know that dental terminology can be confusing or intimidating. But as parents, understanding our children’s oral health is important, so we have put together a helpful dental dictionary to explain common dental terms. If we missed something or you have another question for our pediatric dentist in Humble, Texas, please call Smile Big Pediatric Dentistry at 713-697-6453. Dr Shannon De Vera is eager to help your children smile brighter!

Amalgam

Mixture of metals used in “silver” or “mercury” fillings.

Bridge

A restoration used to replace missing teeth by attaching to neighboring teeth.

Bruxism

Teeth grinding.

Canine

The pointy tooth next to the incisors. Also known as “eye teeth.”

Caries

Tooth decay.

Crown

The part of a tooth that is visible. Also refers to restorations of this area. These are usually made from metal or porcelain.

Diastema

The space between two neighboring teeth.

Endodontics

The dental specialty involving the treatment of the inside of the tooth, such as pulpotomy or root canal therapy.

Filling

Common treatment for superficial tooth decay. Materials include amalgam and tooth colored composites.

Fluoride

A mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel. It appears naturally in most water, and is added to many toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Gingivitis

The initial stage of gum disease, characterized by inflammation and bleeding.

Impaction

A condition involving a tooth that cannot come in as it should. The most commonly-impacted teeth are wisdom teeth and canines.

Impression

A mold of the teeth and mouth used to create many dental restorations.

Incisor

The four front upper and lower teeth, used for biting.

Molar

The back three upper and lower teeth on both sides, used for chewing.

Mouth Guard

A device used to protect teeth while playing sports or to prevent teeth grinding.

Night Guard

A mouth guard used during sleep to protect against teeth grinding.

Occlusion

The way in which upper and lower teeth come together when you bite.

Periodontics

The way in which upper and lower teeth come together when you bite.

Periodontitis

An advanced stage of gum disease, characterized by gum recession.

Permanent Teeth

Your 32 adult teeth. These begin appearing around age six.

Pontic

A false tooth used in a dental bridge to replace the missing natural tooth.

Premolar

The two upper and lower teeth between your incisors and molars. Also known as bicuspids.

Primary Teeth

The 20 teeth a child first develops. Also called baby teeth.

Prophylaxis/Prophy

Teeth cleaning and polishing.

Pulp

The inner area of a tooth, containing nerves and blood vessels.

Pulpotomy

A procedure that removes infected tooth pulp.

Restoration

An item, such as a filling or bridge, used to restore the function and/or appearance of a damaged, decayed, or missing tooth.

Root

The portion of a tooth under the gum line.

Root Canal Therapy

A treatment used to treat infection inside the tooth.

Sealant

A thin layer of durable material used to prevent tooth decay, especially in the molars.

Sedation Dentistry

The use of calming medication during treatment.

Space Maintainer

A device used to maintain proper space between teeth if one is lost prematurely.

Wisdom Teeth

Your very back teeth and the last to erupt, also known as third molars.