Dentists use a lot of terms to describe problems and procedures. They would be glad to explain any term you don’t know, of course, but here are a few:
Caries: Not to be confused with “carry,” caries are another way to describe tooth decay or cavities. Dental caries are a cavity formation in teeth caused by bacteria that form acids. These acids eat away at tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Crown: Dentists use a crown to repair a tooth that’s at risk of falling apart. The tooth may have been broken by an injury or weakened by tooth decay, or it may have undergone a root canal. Crowns fit over the entire tooth and look like a natural tooth. It’s made in a laboratory and its shape is made from impressions the dentist takes from an individual’s tooth.
Dentin: Dentin is the main part of the tooth that surrounds the pulp cavity. It is located between the enamel (hard, calcified tissue that makes up the normally-visible part of the tooth) and the cementum (thin bone-like tissue covering the tooth root).
Palate: When you touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth, you’re touching your palate. The palate separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. Do you have a finely tuned sense of taste? You may have a well-developed palate.
Veneers: Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that cover teeth. They’re designed to improve the appearance of teeth and are custom made to change the color, shape, size or length of an individual’s teeth.
If your dentist or hygienist uses terms you don’t understand, be sure to ask them to explain. Learn the definitions of common dental terms with this glossary.
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