Dental Glossary

Dental health terminology listed by definition:

Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Dentistry: Dental treatments to improve the physical appearance of one's teeth. Aesthetic Dentistry includes teeth whitening procedures, dental restorations (bonding/veneers), dental implants, dental reshaping and orthodontics.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries): Affecting children between the ages of 1 to 3 years old, the dental condition in which tooth caries are formed as a result of prolonged tooth exposure to juice, milk/formula or other sugary liquids (when children are given a bottle at bedtime filled with a liquid other than water.) The modern term for this condition is "Early Childhood Caries."

Bleaching: Teeth whitening processes in which stains and/or discolorations are removed with use of hydrogen peroxide. Bleaching can be conducted by a professional dentist through in-office procedures or by use of at-home systems.

Bonding: The attachment of dental adhesives applied to the tooth's enamel to reconstruct dental defects.

Braces: The use of dental appliances to adjust the position of the teeth or underlying bones of the teeth. The orthodontist cements brackets and wires (either stainless steel or nickel titanium alloy) to surface of the teeth. As an alternative to metal, braces are also available in the form of clear aligners (commonly referred to as "invisible braces."?)

Bridge: In dentistry, a bridge is a prosthesis cemented inside of the mouth, frequently used to replace missing teeth.

Bruxism: The unconscious habit of clenching and grinding of the teeth.

Calcium: In dentistry, calcium phosphate salts are essential minerals that strengthen tooth development by forming the hard material of the teeth.

Calculus: On the surface of teeth, this is the deposit of hardened dental plaque consisting of a mixture of organic material, calcium phosphate and carbonate. It is more commonly referred to as tartar.

Calprox®: Supersmile's proprietary form of calcium peroxide. An alternative teeth whitening ingredient to silica, Calprox® is both safe and effective. It works to dissolve surface stains on natural teeth and is especially kind to artificial tooth surfaces including bonding, veneers, laminates and dentures.

Caps (Crowns): A protective cover placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, color, strength and overall appearance. They can be either temporary or permanent and come in a variety of forms including metal, porcelain, ceramic, resin, or porcelain fused to metal.

Cavity: Also referred to as dental caries, a cavity is a destruction (lesion or hole) causing discoloration, softening or pores on the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel or dentin).

DDS: Acronym for "Doctor of Dental Surgery."

DMD: Acronym for "Doctor of Dental Medicine."

Deciduous Teeth: The initial set of teeth which begin to erupt at about 6 months of age. Also referred to as "temporary" or "baby" teeth. Care for deciduous teeth is important for the development of permanent teeth.

Demineralization: The process by which acidic saliva in the mouth erodes the teeth of useful minerals such as calcium and phosphate, which help strengthen and harden the teeth. Demineralization usually takes place not long after eating when the acid content in the saliva is high.

Dentin: The second layer of the tooth. It makes up the major portion of the tooth. Dentin is the hard, calcified tissue that covers the pulp cavity and is covered by the tooth's enamel. It is similar to bone, however dentin is harder and denser.

Dentures: Also referred to as a dental plate, dentures are artificial teeth and tissue that replace teeth which have been lost for various reasons. Dentures are removable and can be either complete or partial.

Dry Mouth: Also called xerostomia, Dry mouth occurs when there is a decrease in the flow of saliva in the mouth. Dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay and oral infections if not treated properly.

Enamel: Enamel is the first of four major layers of the tooth. It is calcified, clear and porous. Tooth enamel protects the dentin.

Endodontics: The branch of dentistry concerned with the inner parts of the tooth; the treatment, diagnosis and preventive dentistry of the tooth pulp.

Endodontist: The endodontist is a dental specialist who treats, diagnoses and prevents diseases of the nerves in the teeth. The endodontist is the dentist who performs root canals.

Extraction: Performed by dentists, the process of removing a tooth from the mouth.

Filling: The filling of a cavity or destruction in the tooth with restorative material. Dental fillings consist of composite resins or metal amalgams.

Flossing: The process of cleaning between the teeth with use of a waxed or unwaxed soft thread.

Fluoride: A natural mineral present in various foods and drinking water. Like calcium and phosphate, fluoride helps to remineralize the teeth.

Fluorosis: The condition by which the enamel of the teeth become damaged and discolored (turn brown). Fluorosis occurs as a result excessive exposure and intake of fluoride.

Gingiva: The oral gums.

Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums.

Gum Recession: The dental condition in which the teeth's roots become exposed as a result of the loss of gum tissue from its otherwise normal position.

Halitosis: The condition of having foul-scented breath.

Hygienist: A licensed professional in the field of dentistry who specializes in preventive measures including cleaning the teeth and mouth.

Kosher Toothpaste: Supersmile toothpastes have earned the Orthodox Union seal of approval as a certified Kosher product. Unlike most other toothpaste and teeth-whitening brands, Supersmile products do not contain glycerin-an animal byproduct made out of fat from certain meat (such a beef or pork, for instance). In general, non-Kosher toothpaste ingredients include about 1/3 parts glycerin of their overall chemical make-up.

Molars: The teeth located in the back of the mouth which have larger biting surfaces, adapted for grinding food. Normally, people should have 3 on each side of both the upper and lower jaw.

Oral Cancer: The condition in which cancerous cells are present in the tissues of the mouth. Poor oral hygiene and smoking are two of many probable causes of oral cancer.

Oral Surgery: Surgical procedures of the mouth. Oral surgeries can be conducted for a variety of dental purposes including the prevention of oral diseases, treatment of dental problems or aesthetic purposes.

Orthodontics: The branch of dentistry concerned with abnormalities in the structure of the teeth, jaw and face.

Orthodontist: The licensed dental professional concerned with prevention, diagnosis and treatment of abnormalities in the structure of the teeth, jaw and face.

Pedodontics: Also referred to as Pediatric Dentistry, this branch of dentistry specializes in the oral health of children.

Pedodontist: The licensed dentist specializing in the oral health of children.

Periodontal Disease: Diseases of the oral tissue that support the teeth and keep them in place (the gum; the periodontal membrane, or ligament; the bone beneath the gums, in which the teeth are embedded via the periodontal membrane.) Periodontics: The branch of dentistry concerned with tissue that supports the teeth and keeps them in place (see above).

Permanent Teeth: The second set of teeth that erupt. Also referred to as "adult" teeth.

Plaque: The sticky, thin accumulation of bacterial products from food and saliva that grows in the mouth, adhering to teeth, gums and tongue.

Preventive Dentistry: The branch of dentistry concerned with the prevention of unnecessary dental problems.

Prosthodontics: The branch of dentistry concerned with dental restoration.

Prosthodontist: The licensed dentist who specializes in the area of dental restoration.

Protein Pellicle: The thin layer of protein that forms on the tooth surface, to which plaque, bacteria, and stains adhere.

Pulp: The vascular tissue that originates in the center of the tooth beneath the enamel and dentin layer.

Remineralization: The natural process in which the minerals of the teeth are restored or replaced, strengthening the enamel.

Restorations: In dentistry, the replacement of damaged or lost dental structures.

Root Canal: The removal of the pulp of the tooth, which is either damaged or diseased, then filled and sealed. Root canals are performed by a dental professional.

Scaling: The process of removing plaque from the tooth's surface.

Sealants: Protective coating applied to teeth by a dental professional to protect against cavity-causing bacterial plaque.

Silica: A chemical abrasive found in most at-home teeth whitening systems. All Supersmile products are silica-free.

Stains: In dentistry, stains are discoloration of the teeth that occur as a result of various conditions. Tooth stains can be extrinsic or intrinsic.

Tartar: In dentistry, tartar is a yellowish deposit on the teeth. Tartar consists of acid, food particles, bacteria and saliva. Also referred to as calculus.

Teething: The process of primary tooth eruption.

Tooth Decay: The damage of tooth enamel resulting from an accumulation of bacterial plaque on the surface of the teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity: Sensitivity of the nerves of the dentin of the teeth caused by a variety of factors including tooth decay. Teeth sensitivity may also be the result of using certain teeth whitening products. Supersmile products will not cause sensitivity in the teeth nor gums.

Tooth Whitening: The process of using at-home or in-office systems and procedures to improve the whiteness of the teeth.

Xylitol: A natural white, sweet, crystalline alcohol. Unlike sugar, it will not cause dental cavities when used as a sugar substitute or ingredient in dental health products. It is the only sweetener in Supersmile's Advanced Whitening Gum.