Dental Terminology Gardena CA

Dental Glossary

Dental Terminology in Gardena, CA

Are you trying to understand your dental treatment plan but are unsure of the meaning of words such as retainer and veneers? We’ve put together this list of common terms to help you.

Gardena Dental Care Dental Glossary


Abscess -

An abscess occurs when you develop an infection in your mouth. The area may become painful and swollen with pus. Your body creates a barrier around this infection to prevent it from spreading. The “abscess” is technically this barrier.

Abutment -

The teeth on either side of a bridge or partial denture.

Advanced Periodontitis -

This is the most severe form of periodontal disease, also called gum disease. In this stage of the disease bone and gum tissue are destroyed. Your teeth will become loose and may need to be extracted.

Amalgam Filling -

These are the old-fashioned silver fillings dentists have been using for decades. They’re rarely used these days, but old amalgam fillings may need to be replaced.

Anterior Teeth -

These are the six teeth at the front of your mouth. They’re incisors and cuspids.


Baby Teeth -

These are the teeth you’re born with. They gradually fall out during childhood and are replaced by your adult teeth.

Bite -

This is how your teeth clench together when you close your mouth. Also called an occlusion.

Bitewing X-Rays -

This is a type of x-ray used to check your back teeth for cavities.

Bonding -

A procedure to adhere resin to your teeth to replace missing tooth structure and/or for cosmetic enhancement. The resin is color-matched to your natural teeth.

Bridges -

A type of dental appliance used to span the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge must be supported by natural teeth or implants on either side.

Bruxism -

This is when you clench or grind your teeth, usually in your sleep. It can be caused by anything from stress to certain medications.


Calculus -

This is the official scientific name for tartar. Tartar forms when plaque hardens on your teeth.

Caries -

An early type of dental decay. These are not the same thing as cavities and can be removed with fluoride.

Cavities -

The primary form of tooth decay. When sugar from food is left on your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth eat it and convert it to an acid that wears away at the tooth surface, eventually creating a cavity.

Closed Bite -

This is a type of bite where your upper teeth cover your lower ones when you bite down. This is also called a deep bite.

Composite Filling -

This is a filling made of a mixture of plastic and glass and colored to match the rest of your teeth. This is the most common type of filling used today.

Cosmetic Dentistry -

A branch of dentistry dedicated to improving the appearance of one’s smile and teeth.


Crowding occurs when you have too many teeth in an area of your mouth and requires orthodontic treatment to correct.

Crowns -

A crown is a cover or cap that is placed on top of a severely damaged tooth to protect it. Crowns can match the color of the original tooth.


Dental Implant -

A post that’s surgically implanted into the jawbone and used to support a replacement tooth.

Dentures -

These are replacements for missing teeth that are designed to look like natural teeth and be removable. They can be created in both full and partial sets.


Enamel -

The outer layer of your teeth. This is what protects the teeth from damage. It’s one of the strongest materials known to man but can still be damaged.


The branch of dentistry that treats injuries and diseases to the roots and pulp of your teeth.


This is when your tooth enamel is worn away by excess acid in your mouth. This excess acid may either come from your diet or your stomach.


Fluoride -

A natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and strengthen your tooth enamel.


Gingivitis -

This is the earliest stage of gum disease, when bacteria begin to infect your gums, causing inflammation and sometimes irritation.

Gum Disease -

A common name for periodontitis or periodontal disease, which occurs when your gums become infected and can result in tooth and gum loss.

Gum Recession -

This is when gums pull away from your teeth, usually but not always due to gum disease.


Malocclusion -

A misalignment of the upper and lower teeth.


Orthodontics -

A branch of dentistry that focuses on treating and correcting problems with tooth positioning and other oral irregularities.

Overbite -

A condition in which the front teeth are too far forward and stick out over the lower ones.


Palate -

The tissue at the roof of your mouth.

Periodontitis/Periodontal Disease -

An infection of your gums and teeth that can result in tooth loss and other health problems. Also known as gum disease.

Plaque -

A thin layer of bacteria that covers your teeth and can be removed by brushing.

Porcelain Veneers -

Covers that are color-matched to your teeth and bonded to them to improve their appearance and function.

Pulpitis -

An infection of the inside of your tooth.


Retainer -

A dental appliance used to maintain the new position of your teeth after orthodontic treatment. May be permanent or removable.

Root Canal -

The removal of a diseased or injured root from a tooth.


Scaling -

Removing plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth using a dental tool.


Tartar -

Hardened plaque that can’t be removed by brushing.

Tooth Whitening -

The process of lightening your teeth to make them appear whiter or brighter using bleaching agents or laser treatments.


Wisdom Teeth -

Teeth located at the back of the jaw that erupt in the late teens or early twenties and often need to be removed.

Don’t Wait Any Longer to Address Your Oral Health Concerns

Call Gardena Dental Care today at (424) 295-7885 and make an appointment!

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