Let’s talk Teeth- A Vocabulary Lesson Part 2

As we continue with our online school of oral health knowledge, you are on your way to understanding just about everything you read and what your dentist is telling you. Next up on our rundown on the keywords you need to know in the dentist’s office, are the terms begining with the letters K through Z.


Keratin: A protein that is present in hair, epidermis and horns.


Laminate veneer: A thin covering of the surface of a tooth that is used to restore discolored, damaged, misaligned or misshapen teeth.

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Lingual: This term pertains to the area around the tongue, such as the surface of the tooth that is directed towards the tongue.


Malar: The malar pertains to the cheek and cheekbone.


Malocclusion: Refers to the improper alignment of biting of the upper and lower teeth.


Maxilla: This simply means the upper jaw.


Microabrasion: The mechanical removal of a small amount of tooth structure to rid it of discoloration defects.


Molar:  The teeth in the very back of your mouth, on either side of your jaw, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces.


Non-autogenous: This refers to when you get a graft from a donor that is not a patient.


Obturate: The closing off of the canal in regards to root canal procedures.


Occlusion: This means any contact between the biting/chewing surfaces of the upper and lower teeth.


Osteotomy: This is the surgical cutting of the bone.


Palate: The hard and soft tissues that separate the oral and nasal cavities that form the roof of the mouth.


Palliative: Relieves pain, but doesn’t cure it.


Periodontal: Supports the tissue surrounding the teeth.


Periodontist: This is a dentist that practices the treatment of diseases surrounding the tissue of the teeth.


Posterior: This refers to the teeth and tissue that are towards the back of the mouth, such as the maxillary and mandibular premolars and molars.


Pulp: This is the connective tissue that is filled with blood vessels and nerve tissue.


Quadrant: These are the sections of the teeth, there are four main ones.


Reline: This refers to the process of resurfacing the tissue side of a removable prosthesis.


Root Canal: This is the portion of the pulp cavity that is inside the root of a tooth.


Rubber Dam: This is a barrier technique that prevents the passage of saliva to allow for a smoother operative field during a procedure.


Scaling: The process of removing plaque, calculus, and stains from teeth.


Stomatitis: This means the membranes of the mouth are inflamed.


Supernumerary Teeth: These extra erupt or those to yet erupt teeth that look like normal teeth.


Suture: This is simply a stitch used to fix a wound.


Temporomandibular joint (TMJ): This is the mechanism hinge that connects the base of the skull to the jaw.


Trismus: This term refers to the restricted ability to open their mouth due to inflammation.


Unerupted: This is when teeth have not penetrated the surface of the gums yet.


Zygomatic Bone: This is the quadrangular bone on both sides of your face that forms the prominence of the cheek.


While there are still hundreds of terms out there to you’d need to know to fully understand the oral health world, we will leave those to the dentistry schools and professors out there. However, we hope these terms help make your trips to the dentist a little smoother and a little less scary. Remember, a dentist will always be more than happy to answer any questions you may have to help put your mind at ease!