The Howlin Building
10085 Dunkirk Way, #202
Dunkirk, MD 20754

301-855-6008 · 410-257-2400
Fax: 410-257-0628

Basic Dental Terminology

ANESTHESIA

A medicine that the dentist uses to put a tooth to sleep. This is done when a tooth needs a filling.

CANINES

The pointed teeth found in the upper and lower corners of your mouth.

CAVITY

A hole in the tooth which is caused by germs which change sugars in the food to acid. This acid can cause decay in the tooth.

FILLINGS

If there is a cavity in your tooth, the dentist will clean out the decay and put in a material to fill the hole in the tooth. This will seal the tooth against further decay.

FLUORIDE

A medicine that is put in drinking water, tablets, toothpaste, and on your teeth by your dentist. Fluoride makes your teeth stronger against tooth decay.

INCISORS

These are your sharp, flat front teeth that are used for biting.

MOLARS

They are the large back teeth, which are used for grinding food. The first adult molars erupt around the age of 6.  

PLAQUE

A sticky material containing mucus, food debris, and bacteria that grows on your teeth. Some of the bacteria in the plaque make acids, which decay your teeth. The easiest and best way to remove the plaque from your teeth is to brush and floss.

X-RAY

A special picture that shows the dentist the inside of your tooth. The x-ray helps the dentist find decay or other problems with your mouth.