Alexis Road Family Dental

4640 West Alexis Road, Suite #200

Toledo, Ohio 43623


proudly serving the Toledo, Ohio area

Alexis Road Family Dentistry

Amber Leer, D.D.S.

Glossary of Terms

Amber Leer, D.D.S. serving the Toledo, Ohio area



Search the alphabetized list of common dental terms. Still can't find what you are looking for? Contact us here!

We do our best to provides as much information as possible to allow you to make informed decisions about your dental health.



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Abscessed tooth - An abscessed tooth is a pocket of pus, usually caused by some kind of infection and the spread of bacteria from the root of the tooth to the tissue just below or near the tooth. learn more


Amalgam - Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.


Anesthesia - Medications used to relieve pain. learn more


Anterior teeth - Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.


Arch - The upper or lower jaw.




Baby bottle tooth decay - Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.


Bicuspids -A premolar tooth; tooth with two cusps, which are pointed or rounded eminences on or near the masticating surface of a tooth.


Bitewings - X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.


Bonding - Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth. learn more


Bridge - A prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment teeth or implant replacements. learn more


Bruxism - Teeth grinding. learn more




Calculus - A hard deposit of mineralized substance adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth or prosthetic devices.


Canal - The narrow chamber inside the tooth's root.


Canines - Also called cuspids.


Canker sore - One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.


Caries - A commonly used term for tooth decay, or cavities.


Cavities - Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth's inner dentin material. learn more


Cold sore - Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.


Composite filling - Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings. learn more


Composite resin - A tooth colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.


Contouring - The process of reshaping teeth.


Crown - An artificial tooth replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure. It is also placed on a dental implant. learn more


Cusps - The pointed parts on top of the back teeth's chewing surface.


Cuspids - Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.




Dentin - The tooth layer underneath the enamel.


Denture - A removable set of teeth.




Endodontics - A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth's root or nerve.




Fluoride - A harmless over-exposure to fluoride resulting in tooth discoloration. learn more


Fluorosis - A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration. learn more




Gingiva - Another word for gum tissue.


Gingivitis - A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque. learn more


Gum disease - An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease. learn more




Impacted teeth - A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.


Implant - A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.


Incisor - Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.


Inlay - An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.




Laminate veneer - A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.




Malocclusion - Bad bite relationship.


Mandible - The lower jaw.


Maxilla - The upper jaw.


Molar - Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.




Neuromuscular Dentistry - Addresses more than the aches and pains felt in and around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.




Onlay - A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.


Orthodontics - A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment. learn more


Overdenture - A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.




Palate - Roof of the mouth.


Partial denture - A removable appliance that replaces missing teeth.


Pediatric Dentistry - A field of dentistry that deals with children’s teeth


Perio pocket - An opening formed by receding gums.


Periodontal disease - Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.


Periodontist - A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.


Permanent teeth - The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.


Plaque - A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing. learn more


Posterior teeth - The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.


Primary teeth - A person's first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.


Prophylaxis - The act of cleaning the teeth.


Prosthodontics - The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.


Pulp - The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.




Receding gum - A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth's enamel and surrounding bone.


Resin filling - An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.


Root canal - A procedure in which a tooth's nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.


Root planing - Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.




Sealant - A synthetic material placed on the tooth's surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces. learn more



TMJ - Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear. learn more


Tarter - A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth’s surface




Veneer - A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth. learn more




Whitening - A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.


Wisdom tooth - Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence. learn more