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Home Glossary

Glossary of dental terms used on this site

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Term Definition
Abrasion

The wearing away of tooth substance through an abnormal mechanical process, such as tooth grinding, clenching or over-brushing with a hard toothbrush.

Abscess

Localised oral inflammation in the bone , tooth or gum, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Tooth abscesses commonly occur at the end of the root tip and can be the result of decay, trauma or severe gum disease. Symptoms can include pain and/or swelling.

Abutment

Retainer tooth/teeth or implants that are used to support a bridge.

Acrylic

A plastic type material used to make artificial teeth, dentures and other dental (orthodontic) appliances.

Air Abrasion

The use of air and an abrasive (usually tiny particles of sodium bicarbonate or aluminium oxide) blasted in a stream of water to remove tooth structure or surface staining depending upon the particulate stream used.

Alginate

A soft rubber-like compound (derived from seaweed) used to take impressions of patient's teeth and oral structures.

Alveolar Bone

The bone surrounding the roots of teeth.

Alveoloplasty

A procedure used to reshape the remaining alveolar bone in bone-grafting procedures or to prepare for a complete/partial denture.

Amalgam

Most common silver-coloured filling, consisting of a mix of mercury, silver, tin and copper. Amalgam is relatively inexpensive and easy to place.

Anaesthesia

A medication that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations. Can be applied locally or generally.

Analgesia

A state of reduced sensitivity to pain whilst a subject is fully conscious.

Anterior

Pertaining to the front. Central incisors, lateral incisors, canines and premolar Teeth.

Antibiotic

A drug that has the capacity to kill bacteria. Used for the treatment of infections.

Antiseptic

A substance that inhibits the growth of germs.

ANUG (Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingi

Otherwise known as trench mouth or Vincent's disease. It is a bacterial infection and ulceration of the gum tissue between teeth, caused by poor dental hygiene and more commonly found in smokers. Antibiotic therapy or minor surgery may be necessary to treat this condition.

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