Dental Dictionary


The abutment (post abutment / implant head) is a connecting element between the dental implant and the dental prosthesis. The superstructure is glued or screwed onto the abutment.

A medical intervention can have symptoms that go along with it or can appear afterwards. (e.g. swollen cheek or bleeding gums after dental treatment.)

Alpha Bio dental implants are high quality, durable and long lasting tools to hold a temporary or a permanent denture for a lifetime. These dental implants are manufactured with a very complex procedure that makes them being able to bond well with the bone. This is referred to as osseointegration. Both superior quality Alpha Bio and Nobel Biocare implants are being used by our dentists depending on the specificities of each case.


Removal of a tissue fragment from a living being for pathological examination.

Dental procedure used to repair dental implant sites with insufficient bone structure or other defects.

A bridge makes possible the replacement of one or several missing teeth by relying on the adjacent teeth (pillar teeth), one on each side. It is formed of crowns welded together. Once the bridge is cemented fixed, it cannot be removed. In addition to replacing a missing tooth, pillar teeth are restored as crowns. A bridge is therefore recommended when adjacent teeth have undergone major repairs or channel treatments.

Why should a missing tooth be replaced?

  • To cover an unaesthetic gap.
  • To improve chewing and speaking skills.
  • To not allow other teeth to support the chewing load and weaken them over time.
  • To not allow other teeth to move or tilt, creating gum problems.
  • Unbalanced chewing can lead to serious problems, in the worst case, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Bridge types

  • Traditional bridge creates a crown on each adjacent tooth. The part that connects them and that replaces the missing tooth is called pontic.
  • Butterfly bridge, where the pontic is supported by ailerons on the adjacent teeth. This kind of bridge is less solid than the traditional bridge.

Bruxism is an unconscious and involuntary activity of the jaw, which causes tooth grinding and clenching. It is usually happens during sleep but it may also occur awake. It is often associated with anxiety, stress and if someone has occlusal irregularity, it might also trigger this gnashing motion. While clenching is a quiet habit when teeth are pressed together firmly, grinding can cause noises as well.

But this isn’t the only disadvantage of bruxism. The enamel of the teeth can wear out after a while which leaves the dental crown unprotected and can easily break or damage. In addition to this, it can also cause periodontal breakdown, and joint or neuromuscular problems, it might lead to some serious temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems as well. A mouthguard can easily solve this but it is advisable to consult with an orthodontist beforehand.


It is a computer-managed method to create more precise plans and models.

Dental caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay is a breakdown of the tooth’s hard tissues by mutans streptococci. It is characterized by demineralization of the organic substance that might cause softening and destruction of the hard tissue. This disease can progress to an inflammation of the pulp, the periodontal, or even the alveolar bone. Untreated, its complications can lead to the avulsion of the tooth.

Veneers allow to treat numerous clinical cases:

  • the colorations not treated by bleaching
  • fractures
  • moderate defects in the size and the position of the tooth.

The facet that is approximately 0.5 mm thick is glued on the tooth. The aesthetic result is excellent.

This orthodontic appliance resembles a transparent shell that covers the teeth. As a removable device, it is only suitable for conscientious people and should be worn as much as possible to correct the actual problem. Another good news is that it is 90% effective if the patient is rigorous and wears it very often. Its price is comparable to other dental appliances. Beware, it is not suitable for all kind of dental problems, consultation with an orthodontist is necessary.

The term “closed occlusion” refers to the position of the teeth to each other when the jaws are closed, and the upper teeth cover the lower teeth.

The dental prosthetic specialist manufactures an inlay-onlay made of ceramic or composite material when the cavity to be restored is not very large. It is necessary to make an impression before. These restorations are highly adapted to the tooth and provide superior mechanical properties to direct composites.

A prosthesis to restore a damaged tooth. Looks like a hat that covers the tooth to protect it.

  • “Metal-ceramic” crown, a metal base called a reinforcement, coated with a ceramic.
  • “All-ceramic” crown: does not have a metal frame. It is based on highly resistant materials, zirconia or alumina. Its aestheticism is incomparable.


An artificial titanium root that is directly screwed into the bone, and intended to support a crown. The technique has two aspects: one surgical (implant placement), and the other prosthetic (crown on implant). The implant joins perfectly into the bone by a phenomenon called “osseointegration”.

Dental impression is a specific process used to make fixed or removable prostheses or orthodontic devices in the laboratory.

In a dental laboratory, specially trained dental technicians are working on the manufacturing of prosthetic products.

We get it once the impression has been poured.

Dental occlusion is the way in which the upper teeth (maxillary teeth) align with the lower teeth (mandibular teeth). Static occlusion is the study of contacts between teeth when the jaw is not moving. We call it dynamic occlusion when the mandible is moving and the contacts are not points but lines.

Dental overlap (teeth that “embark” on each other) caused by lack of space, is one of the most common problems affecting modern dentition. Practically all dentitions and occlusions present a certain lack of space or a dental congestion at different degrees. In popular terms, people refer to this kind of problem as “crooked teeth” but there is much more than the misalignment of the teeth that causes these irregularities.

The complete removable prosthesis, commonly called dentures, is a natural teeth replacement device. It is said to be complete because the prosthesis replaces all of the teeth, either at the upper or at the lower jaw. The term ‘removable’ means that the prosthesis can be removed from the mouth for its daily maintenance or simply for the night.


Example of replacing a single missing tooth: The bridge will consist of 3 elements. Two pillars: the teeth on either side of the absent tooth. An inter: the missing tooth.

The enamel is the outer part of the crown of the teeth. It covers the dentin, and is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body. With the dentin, the cementum and the dental pulp, it is one of the four main tissues that make up each tooth.

This is a pathology corresponding to the absence of teeth in an adult mouth. It starts when at least one tooth is missing.

The dental specialty concerned with the treatment of the dental pulp.

Removal of one or more teeth intended to correct a dental overcrowding or malocclusion between the maxillary and the mandibular teeth.


The 4 incisors and 2 canines that are visible when speaking. These teeth are used for cutting and shredding.


Vacant space between two teeth after an extraction.

The gum is the part of the buccal mucosa that ensures the role of a waterproof sleeve around each tooth. It also covers the alveolar bone. It is the visible part of the periodontium.

A dental gutter is a removable dental appliance that conforms to the shape of the teeth. It is designed from a teeth impression and looks like a kind of mouthguard. There are different types of gutters. The occlusal gutter corrects jaw disorders and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders related to involuntary jaw muscle contractions. It is this type of gutter that is used in particular in the case of bruxism. The orthodontic gutter is used to correct dental malpositions. It allows the teeth to move smoothly. The major advantage of these gutters is their discretion and ease of maintenance compared to the brackets.


Hyperemia (or hyperaemia) refers to the increase of blood flow in the tissues of ​​the body, due to temperature rise, or by any other physical means, or by using chemicals, such as the histamine.


The famous pocket of ice on the sore cheek to reduce the pain.

The impression paste (putty) serves to make a dental impression. It is placed in a tray adapted to the jaw of the patient. Once it’s being inserted in the patient’s mouth, it needs to be bit tightly until the paste hardens in a few minutes.

The interdental area corresponds to the gap between each tooth and is occupied by the gingiva. The conditions in these interdental gaps facilitate the appearance and accumulation of the oral biofilm (bacterial dental plaque), as they are difficult to reach even when the teeth are in the normal position.


The maxillary bone and the mandible constitute the human jaw.


Local anaesthesia is used to desensitize teeth and gums by preventing pain during dental treatment.

The temporary crown is a prosthesis that is attached to a tooth or to an implant, until the final prosthesis is getting ready. However, even the prosthesis is temporary, it is almost as enduring as a permanent prosthesis.

When different materials (e.g. teeth) appear to have a different shade of color with normal light than with artificial light.


The maxilla (upper maxillary) is an even, median and symmetrical bone on the face. There are two on each side of the facial median line.

The membrane is a physical barrier that prevents the loss of material, prevents fibroblasts from penetrating the bone defect and gives the bone cells time to regenerate. They are used in guided tissue regeneration (GTR) or guided bone regeneration (GBR).

The role of the membrane is to guarantee the volume and height of the increase: maintaining the space; and increasing the therapeutic safety: tissue integration, cellular impermeability, biocompatibility, optimizing bone regeneration, so that the aesthetic and functional conditions are fulfilled.

The metal-ceramic crown is made of a metal shell that is covered with a ceramic having the same color as the tooth. You will therefore have a prosthesis both aesthetic and resistant thanks to its metal frame. Its biggest asset is its natural appearance.

The modification of the occlusion is to shorten the distance in between the upper and the lower jaws that have occurred due to ablation of the chewing surface or tooth loss. The modification of the occlusion is therefore a reduction of the vertical distance between the upper jaw and the lower jaw.

These are the most solid teeth at the back of the mouth. They usually have 3 roots. Their number varies between 8 and 12 (depending on whether wisdom teeth are formed or not). The molars are used to grind food during chewing.


Teeth that are next to each other at the same jaw.

Nobel Biocare products and treatment concepts are designed to give patients fully functional and natural-looking restorations that last a lifetime. All along with Alpha Bio dental implants that our dentists are also working with at our clinic, these are of superior quality and comply with international standards. Lifetime warranty is applied on all our implants.


Filling is a way to restore a decayed tooth by restoring its function as well as its normal shape. When a dental surgeon makes a filling, he/she first removes the decayed portion of the tooth, then cleans the created cavity and then fills it with a filling material.

The surface of a tooth that occludes with or contacts the corresponding teeth of the opposing jawbone during occlusion and mastication.

The upper and the lower front teeth do not come together when the mouth is closed.

Oral surgery is a medical and surgical specialty that covers the study of the oral cavity, teeth, maxillas, manducatory tract and adjoining tissues. The oral surgeon is a medical professional qualified to practice oral surgery. As a holder of a doctorate in medicine or a doctorate in dental surgery, he/she ensures the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of congenital or acquired congenital or actual diseases of the mouth, teeth, masticatory apparatus and adjoining tissues. This specialty is thus common to doctors in medicine and dental surgeon specialists.

Overbite is the overlap of the upper incisors over the lower incisors. This malocclusion can be treated with the using of dental braces. Often linked to an anteroposterior gap of the dental arches, it can take various forms.

The upper incisors should have a horizontal overlap (overjet) of 1 to 2 mm ideally.

If the neighboring teeth are missing, the remaining tooth has to support all the masticatory forces, because it must also fulfill the role of the missing teeth. Thus, the overloaded tooth can become sensitive or painful, or begin to move abnormally.


Facial paralysis is a partial or total loss of the motility of a part of the face when the facial nerve is being affected. Several reasons can explain facial paralysis and treatments will depend on the cause.

The partial prosthesis, compared to the complete prosthesis (denture), is a device for replacing one or more teeth in order to improve phonetics, chewing and aesthetics.

Periodontitis is an inflammation that occurs in the soft tissues (gum) around the teeth. This disease often causes shrinkage of the gums which loosens up the teeth which might fall out after a while. Most of the adult population have some forms of periodontal diseases so it is advisable to take part of a dental check-up every 6 months in order to detect such a problem and to start the dental treatment before it would be too late.

In case of a heavy inflammation, bone tissues underneath the gingiva might also get damaged, causing bone loss which can easily end up in losing teeth. Bacteria that promote periodontitis may proliferate in the see-through layer on the teeth and gum called plaque which can easily be removed by daily brushing and flossing. Proper oral hygiene can save us lots of effort put in a dental treatment.

The periodontium is the set of tissues surrounding and supporting the tooth. It consists of the following components:

  • The alveolar bone of the maxilla (upper jaw), or the mandible (lower jaw)
  • The alveodental ligament
  • Gingiva
  • The cementum of the dental root, and some nervous and blood components

A dental bridge or dental prosthesis attached to two or more pillar teeth is intended to replace one or more missing teeth.

Central part of the tooth with nerves and blood vessels inside.


For several years, the teeth have been assigned a number in an international numbering system. This is the reason why you can read numbers to designate teeth on a quote of a dental treatment for example. The dental arches are divided into four quadrants, two for the upper teeth and two for the lower teeth. In each quadrant, the teeth are numbered from 1 to 8 starting from the middle to the back. The numbering is done in two digits: the first digit indicates the quadrant, the second the tooth itself.


When a material has the capacity of returning to its original shape after deformation.

Root canal treatment is an intervention that aims to restore a highly damaged or infected tooth to preserve it rather than extract it.


Partial crowns are replacing only part of the tooth. Depending on their size, they are also called half crowns or three-quarter crowns. They can be made of metal, ceramic or synthetic resins. The transition from inlay/onlay (indirect restoration) to partial crown is smooth.

Sinus augmentation bone grafts allow to raise the tissue of the sinus and to create a favorable bone volume for the placement of the dental implants. It is preferably realized at least 2 months after the extractions.

The smile line is the course of the upper lip on the edge of laughter. There are different variations:

  • Low smile line (20% of the population) – When people expose less than 70% of their anterior teeth and do not expose their gums.
  • The average smile line (70% of the population) – When people exhibit 75% to 100% of their teeth during the smile, as well as their gingival papilla (small gingival triangle between each teeth).
  • The line of the high or gingival smile (10% of the population) – It reveals the total cervicoincisal length of the maxillary anterior teeth and a continuous band of gingiva.


  • Generally, the discoloration of the teeth comes from the consumption of coffee, tea or colas.
  • Some antibiotics can blacken the growing teeth of children.
  • Aging – the dentin that is found under the enamel of a tooth gradually blackens with the age.
  • Use of tobacco products.
  • Accidents – If a tooth has suffered a trauma, sometimes the nerve “is dying” gradually, and the tooth blackens.
  • In general, a tooth also blackens after a root canal treatment.

The root is the part of the tooth that is embedded in the alveolar bone, located in the basal bone of the maxilla or the mandible. Topped with the dental crown, the root serves as a pillar for the tooth. It ends in an apex.

A tooth may have one or more roots. The number of roots is generally the same for a given type of teeth, but some variations may exist.

Monoradiculated teeth: incisors, canines

Biradiculated teeth: premolars

Three-rooted teeth: molars

The place where the roots of a tooth separate is called a furcation.

Unlike the crown, the root is not protected by the enamel, but by the much finer cementum. Dentin hypersensitivity is therefore very common when the root is denuded. This can happen either because of periodontal disease or as a result of a gingival recession due to excessive forces exerted on the teeth (bruxism or traumatic brushing).

It also defines the extraction method, among other things.

The impression tray serves to make an impression. An impression of the two arches is necessary even for the rehabilitation of a single tooth. Firstly, the tray that is adapted to the jaw of the patient is being filled with the impression material (silicone, alginate, etc.) Once the tray is inserted into the mouth, the patient needs to bite tightly during the time of setting. The paste hardens in a few minutes. If the quality of the impression is satisfying, it is sent to the dental prosthetist. A temporary prosthesis is then performed by the surgeon dentist until the final prosthesis is installed.


The wisdom tooth is the third definitive molar which grows between 16 and 21 years of age. It is called “wisdom” because it symbolizes the entry into adulthood.