Glossary Dental Terminology Defined by our Brandywine, DE Dentists

At Dental Associates of Delaware, we provide quality general, cosmetic and family dentistry in Brandywine, Hockessin, Middletown, Wilmington, and Millsboro, DE. In order to help you achieve your healthiest smile possible, we believe that patient education is an extremely important part of the dental care process. Our dentists and their teams will work with you side-by-side to help you understand your own teeth and oral health, any treatments that you receive and any questions you might have along the way. You can read more about common dental terms that you might hear one of our doctors refer to below!


Abscess – infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease
Amalgam – a silver and mercury material used for fillings
Anesthetic – a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient’s localized pain during certain dental procedures
Anterior – the teeth in the front of your mouth
Antiseptic – an agent that can be applied to living tissues to destroy germs
Apex – the very tip of the root of a tooth
Aspirator – a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth


Bleaching Agent – a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth
Bonding – a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage
Bridge – one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth
Bruxism – the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping


Calculus – the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar
Canine – the pointy teeth just behind the laterals
Caries – another name for cavities or decayed teeth
Cavity – a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay
Central – the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth
Crown – an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal
Cuspid – the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines


Decalcification – the loss of calcium from the teeth
Deciduous Teeth – also called “baby teeth”
Dental Implants – an implant is attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth
Denture – a removable set of artificial teeth


Enamel – the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line
Endodontist – a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth)
Extraction – the removal of a tooth or teeth


Filling – a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity
Fluoride – a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay


Gingivitis – inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth
Gums – the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth


Impacted Tooth – often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requiring extraction
Incisal – related to incisors (see below)
Incisor – one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth
Inlays – a custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth
Instant Orthodontics – alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns


Lateral – these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals


Night Guard – a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ


Pedontist – also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children’s teeth
Periodontist – a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease
Plaque – a sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay
Posterior Teeth – the teeth in the back of the mouth
Primary Teeth – also known as “baby teeth” or deciduous teeth
Prosthodontist – a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth or severely damaged teeth


Root – the portion of the tooth below your gum line
Root Canal – cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed


Sealant – plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children
Secondary Teeth – the permanent teeth
Six-Year Molar – commonly known as “the first molar”
Sleep Apnea – a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night


Tartar – see calculus
TMJ Syndrome – a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw, often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.
Teeth Whitening – a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth
Twelve-Year Molar – commonly known as “the second molar”


Veneer – a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth

Contact our Delaware Dentistry Offices

We know that going to the dentist can be intimidating or daunting for some people, which is why we focus on patient communication to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible during your visits with us. Whether you are in need of dental implants, teeth whitening, a routine cleaning or sleep apnea treatment, as one of our patients you are our top priority. We are conveniently located in Brandywine, Hockessin, Middletown, Wilmington, and Millsboro, DE and serve patients of all ages. Please contact one of our offices at the following phone numbers with questions or to schedule an appointment!


Brandywine office: 302.477.4900

Hockessin office: 302.239.5917

Middletown office: 302.378.8600

Wilmington office: 302.658.9511

Millsboro office: 302.934.8005