Abstraction – Loss of tooth surface at the cervical areas of teeth (near the gum line) caused by tensile and compressive forces during tooth flexure. These are wedge shaped notches involving enamel loss. They are susceptible to decay & can be extremely sensitive due to dentine exposure. May or may not require treatment depending on the extent
Abrasion – Abnormal loss of tooth structure due to non-masticatory friction such as using a hard toothbrush or improper brushing technique. Involved teeth may be cold or hot sensitive .Treatment involves correcting brushing technique, using a soft toothbrush and tooth coloured bond0ing
Abscess – A localized accumulation of pus caused by an infection. Once tooth decay infects the pulpal tissue inside the tooth, if left untreated will cause disintegration of the tissue and accumulation of pus in the pulpal and periapical tissues causing a periapical abscess.
Abutment – A tooth , root or implant used for support and retention of a fixed or removable prosthesis
Acetaminophen ( Tylenol-trade name ) – Non-nacrotic analgesic . Used in mild to moderate pain and fever
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) – disease caused by a retro-virus (HIV-1). Generalized lymphadenopathy, persistent fever, diarrhea and weight loss are some of the associated symptoms
Acromegaly – A hormone disorder caused by excess production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland . Characterized by enlargement of the hands, feet, jaws, spacing between teeth and deepening of the voice due to enlarged sinuses and vocal cords. Patients who wear dentures will have to frequently replace them due to the enlargement of the jaws
Acrylic resin – formed from acrylic acid. Used in dentistry to make denture teeth and temporary crowns
ADA – American Dental Association, professional organization for dentists in the United States of America
Adverse drug reaction – Harmful, unintended reaction to a drug administrated at a normal dosage
Aglossia – Developmental anomaly in which a portion or all of the tongue is absent
Alginate – Commercial varieties of alginate are extracted from seaweed. It absorbs water very quickly and is used in dentistry for making impressions
Allograft – Graft tissue obtained from human cadavers. (Genetically dissimilar members of the same species). Allografts go through a series of radiation, chemical and freezing processes and is prepared at tissue banks.
Alloplastic Grafts – Synthetic graft materials
Adhesive dentistry – contemporary term for dental restorations that involve “bonding” of composite resin or porcelain fillings to natural teeth
Air abrasion – removal of tooth structure by blasting a tooth with air and abrasive, a relatively new technology that may avoid the need for anesthetic
Allergy – unfavorable systemic response to a foreign substance or drug
Alveolar bone – the portion of the jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth
Amalgam – most common filling material, also known as “silver fillings”. It is an alloy of mercury (app 50%), silver, tin, copper and zinc. It does not chemically bond to the tooth structure and is not esthetic.
Analgesia – a state of pain relief; an agent lessening pain
Anesthesia – partial or complete elimination of pain sensation; numbing a tooth is an example of local anesthesia; general anesthesia produces partial or complete unconsciousness
Anterior teeth – the six upper or six lower front teeth
Antibiotic – a drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria
ANUG – an acronym for Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth or Vincent’s disease, aggravated by stress and/or smoking. Characterized by small punched out ulcers of the gingival papillae
Apex – the tip of the root of a tooth
Apicoectomy – surgical removal of the root tip to treat a dead tooth
Arch – describes the alignment of the upper or lower teeth
Attrition – loss of structure due to natural wear
Augmentation – Placement of a graft or any procedure that corrects a soft (example – gums) or a hard tissue (example – Bone) deficiency.
Autogenous Graft – Graft material taken from one site and transplanted to another site in the same individual.