What Does That Mean? Words Your Dentist Uses When Speaking About Your Teeth

Dentist Articles

You have probably been to the dentist multiple times in your life and, more than once, you have probably overhead the dentist talking to the dental hygienist about your teeth. You may not completely understand what they are discussing. These short list will give you insight into certain words the dentist uses, and might help you understand your dentist a bit better.

Enamel - This the hardest part of your tooth, and it is very difficult to crack. You can think of it as an outer barrier, and it is made out of calcium phosphate. Enamel protects your teeth from all sorts of damage, which is why it is so common to hear the recommendation to stay away from drinking too much acidic liquid, which erodes the enamel over time.

Pulp - Pulp is the means by which blood vessels and nerves connect to the teeth. If somehow the blood vessels and nerves fail to reach a tooth in your mouth, the tooth cannot live. Pulp appears as a very soft lining on the inner part of the tooth, and it's essential to deliver vital nutrients to the tooth, as well as blood.

Roots - The roots form the base of your teeth. Since they are covered with cementum, it's unlikely you'll ever see them, unless you have to have a tooth pulled. A tooth may have multiple base roots or just one, such as is the case with most canines and premolars. A root is mostly going to be comprised of dentin.

Cementum - The cementum is the connecting tissue which carefully binds the roots of the tooth firmly to your jawbone and gums. To remember what it does, think of the word cementum without the "um" at the end—it cements your teeth permanently in their proper place. As long as you maintain proper care of your gums, you're unlikely to ever see the cementum.

Periodontal Ligament - This is the ligament that helps with holding your teeth tightly against your jaw at all times.

Incisors - When people say smile, this is what you are going to be hitting them with first. Your incisors are the front 8 teeth on both your lower and upper jaw.

Canines – Located directly next to the incisors, these are your pointed teeth. You have four of them, in total. Canines are known for being your sharpest teeth. They are going to be the best for both tearing and ripping apart food, but not for grinding. Your canines generally will appear within the first 20 months of life.

Premolars – Simply put, these are the 8 teeth that make up the space between your canines and your molars

Molars – Molars, of which you have 8, are known as the grinding teeth. They are flat, feel smoother than the rest of your teeth, and are critical to chewing through tough food to break it down into bite-sized pieces. Molars are especially susceptible to harboring bacteria as they do much of the work when it comes to chewing your food.

Wisdom Teeth – Wisdom teeth are the teeth hidden away in the back of your mouth and usually don't start to make their appearance until early adulthood. Most people get their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lifetime, preferably after they start coming in and before begin to threaten displacement of the rest of your teeth. Once you turn about 18, you may begin to feel pain or general discomfort in the back of your mouth, as the wisdom teeth can start to visibly protrude from the gum lines. Many oral surgeons recommend taking them out sooner rather than later to avoid further pain and further risk of disfigurement.

For more information, talk to your dentist or visit a website like http://www.familydentalcentertn.com.


10 December 2014