Glossary

When you’re looking for a family dentist in or around Wheat Ridge, Golden, and Denver, CO, it’s critical to find someone who’s both trustworthy and will make you feel comfortable. At Gentle Smiles of Colorado, we’ll make sure to go above and beyond to guarantee that you’ll be right at home in our family-friendly office that’s perfect for all ages. As your trusted Denver general dentist, we always want you to feel relaxed and understanding about your dental situation and dentistry, in general. For your benefit, we’ve provided a list of definitions for all the key terms in the field of dentistry.

-A-

Abscess - an infection that can be caused by severe tooth decay, gum disease or trauma

Amalgam - a silver and mercury material commonly used for fillings

Anesthetic - a drug used by your dentist to relieve a patient's pain during certain procedures

Anterior - a group of teeth that are in the front of your mouth

Apex - the tip of the root of a tooth

Aspirator - a device used to evacuate the fluid that builds up in mouths through suction

-B-

Bonding - applying a tooth-colored plastic composite on the teeth, typically used to improve their appearance

Bridge - Dental bridges involve adding artificial teeth in order to bridge the gap between surrounding teeth

Bruxism - the typically involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth, commonly during sleep

-C-

Calculus - also known as tartar, calculus is the hardened dental plaque that is caused by negligence or prone teeth. 

Canine - Located in the corners of the mouth, canines are pointy teeth meant for grasping and tearing food

Caries - Dental caries are another name for cavities or tooth decay

Cavities - small holes in the teeth caused by tooth decay

Central - central teeth are the two middle teeth in each the upper and low parts of the mouth

Crown - Crowns are artificial teeth made to fill gaps and restore smiles - and are usually made of porcelain or metal

Cuspid - Cuspid teeth are also known as canines, and are the pointy and most recognizable teeth in the mouth

-D-

Decalcification - the process where teeth lose calcium

Dental Implants - implants are artificial and are placed into the jaw to hold replacement teeth or bridges

Dentures - removable artificial replacements for missing teeth

-E-

Enamel - A hard substance on the surface of the tooth that is visible when looking at your mouth

Endodontist - a dentist who specializes in maintaining teeth through procedures such as root canals, and treats diseases and infections of the inner tooth.

Extraction - removal of a tooth from the socket of the bone

-F-

Filling - a way to restore a tooth that has been damaged back to its normal health and function, done with metal or composite material

Fluoride - a chemical solution made to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay and cavities

-G-

Gingivitis - a common form of gum disease around the roots of the teeth that causes irritation and inflammation

Gums - the solid flesh surrounding the roots of the teeth

-I-

Impacted Tooth - a tooth that incorrectly sits sideways below the gum line and often needs to be extracted. Wisdom teeth are commonly impacted.

Incisor - a narrow-edged tooth at the front of the mouth, that is narrow-edged and flat

Inlays - custom-made fillings fitted to unhealthy teeth and cemented into place

-L-

Lateral - a pair of teeth that are adjacent to the centrals

-N-

Night Guard - a plastic mouthpiece made to be worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth and other tooth damage

-P-

Pedodontist - also known as pediatric dentists, pedontists specialize in treating children from infancy through the teen years

Periodontist - a dentist who specializes in treatment, prevention, and diagnosis of gum disease

Plaque - a soft, sticky buildup of bacteria and acids on teeth that causes tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly

enough through brushing, flossing, and teeth cleanings

Posterior Teeth - posterior teeth are a group of premolars and molars that are located in the rear of the mouth

Primary Teeth - otherwise known as baby teeth or temporary teeth, primary teeth are the first set of teeth to grow in 

Prosthodontist - prosthodontists are experts in restoring and replacing missing or severely damaged teeth

-R-

Root - the part of the tooth below the gum line

Root Canal - a procedure that includes cleaning out and filling in the inside nerve of a tooth that is severely decayed

-S-

Sealant - a thin, protective coating (commonly made from plastic) that is applied to teeth to prevent decay

Secondary Teeth - the permanent teeth that grow in after primary teeth have fallen out

Sleep Apnea - a common disorder in which a sleeping person stops breathing for possibly 10 seconds or more at a time, on and off throughout the night

-T-

TMJ Syndrome - a disorder that is associated with the jaw and face muscles often caused by misalignment or a difference between the upper and lower jaw sizes

Tooth Whitening - a process that is designed to help remove  teeth stains or discoloration, in turn whitening the teeth

-V-

Veneer - veneers are ultra-thin shells of plastic, porcelain or composite material that are used to improve the look of stained or damaged teeth

Contact Your Wheat Ridge, Golden, and Denver, CO Family Dentist!

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with your Denver general dentist, we encourage you to give us a call at one of our three convenient locations. Our Golden office phone number is (303) 278-2800, our Wheat Ridge office phone number is (303) 425-5100, and our Denver office phone number is (303) 756-2770. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you!