10 Tongue Twister Dental Terms – Explained!

10 Tongue Twister Dental Terms – Explained!

The medical world is full of complicated sounding terms which are little known to most non medical folks. Dentistry is no exception.

How often have you thought "I really must ask what a malocclusion is"? But you can't at the time as your mouth is full of sharp implements. And when your examination is over it somehow slips your mind or is crowded out by thoughts of donuts and coffee.

Here is a selection of the most complicated sounding ones we could find. And what they actually mean.

  1. BRUXISM: Grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep.
  2. APEXOGENESIS: Vital pulp (blood vessels and connective tissue that nourish the tooth) therapy performed to encourage continued physiological formation and development of the tooth root. (Apex is the tip or end of the root end of the tooth.)
  3. BICUSPID: A premolar tooth a tooth with two cusps. (A cusp is the pointed or rounded eminence on or near the masticating surface of a tooth.)
  4. ODONTOGENIC CYST: A cyst (cluster of cells joined together to form a sac containing fluid or soft matter) derived from the epithelium (tissue that lines the cavities and surfaces of blood vessels) of odontogenic (tooth forming) tissue.
  5. DEBRIDEMENT: Removal of subgingival (under the gums) and/or supragingival (not under the gums) plaque (sticky colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on teeth) and calculus (hardened plaque) which obstructs the ability to perform an evaluation.
  6. MALOCCLUSION: Improper alignment of biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth when they approach each other during chewing or at rest. (Mal = bad, Occlusion = the fitting or contact between teeth)
  7. OCCLUSAL: Pertaining to the biting surfaces of the premolar (tooth situated between the pointy canines and the chunky grinding molar teeth at the back) and molar teeth or contacting surfaces of opposing teeth or opposing occlusion rims.
  8. OPERCULECTOMY: Removal of the operculum (The flap of tissue over an unerupted or partially erupted tooth, i.e. a tooth that has formed but has not passed through the gum tissues to its proper place.)
  9. MAXILLERY (upper) & MANDIBULAR (lower) TEETH. (Maxilla is the upper jaw, mandible is the lower jaw.)
  10. PERIODONTITIS: Inflammation and loss of the connective tissue of the supporting or surrounding structure of teeth with loss of attachment. (Peri- denotes something with a position surrounding or around another.)

And here is one that is frighteningly clear and hopefully not too common..!

BLACK HAIRY TONGUE: Elongated papillae on the tongue, promoting the growth of microorganisms.

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